Massive gridlock as IJT activists block canal for hours


Commuters were stranded for hours along the canal on Thursday evening as activists of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) blocked the city’s main artery at outside Punjab University’s hostels No 4 and No 15 to protest against prolonged power outages in the varsity.
The traffic along the canal, from Ferozpur Road underpass to Jinnah Hospital underpass, remained completely blocked between 5pm and 8pm.
Traffic police officials tried guiding commuters to alternate routes, but the traffic could not pick up its routine pace even hours after the protest ended.
The canal’s blockage also affected traffic flow in surrounding areas of Allama Iqbal Town, Wahdat road, Johar Town, Faisal Town, Garden Town and Model Town, stranding a large number of commuters on roads for hours.
The traffic flow in these areas has already been badly affected by the ongoing construction work at Kalma Chowk flyover and the IJT’s protest only compounded road users’ troubles. Travelers expressed their anger over the protests, saying they must have taken the trouble they were causing the citizens in mind.
“It is not the fault of hundreds of drivers caught in the jam that the varsity is facing power cuts. My family also suffers from load shedding daily, but I am not stopping others from going about their routine,” one of the agitated car drivers stuck near the Campus Bridge said.
“They must learn to register their protest at the right forum with a right approach,” another commuter stuck with his family said.
One of the female drivers caught in the blockade said load shedding has affected lives of millions of citizens, “but this is not the way to protest”.
On the other hand IJT Secretary General Muhammad Amir said they had protested against prolonged outages and the varsity administration’s inaction over the problem.
“We had protested outside the offices of the resident officer and project director, but nobody listened to us. That is why we were forced to block the canal,” he said.
Another traffic jam was ensued near The Mall underpass around 5pm when three cars rammed into each other. The resulting traffic jam near The Mall irked thousands of travelers for over an hour.