Lahore comes to a halt as World XI head for practice


‘Irritable’ traffic wardens harass jammed commuters

LAHORE: Commuters were caused great strife as traffic remained at a standstill all over Lahore on Monday, courtesy the visiting cricket World XI, which moved from their hotel on Mall Road to their first practice session at Gadaffi.

Major avenues and roads including Main Boulevard Gulberg, Mall Road, and Ferozpur road remained blocked while other routes including Jail Road stood clogged for hours in the evening due to the extra pressure coming from divergent traffic.

Meanwhile, commuters complained that not only was the traffic situation in the city unimaginable, but traffic police officials were also the opposite of helpful, going so far as to harass and abuse travelers trying to reach their destinations rather than being accommodating.

The Mall remained sealed off almost completely, with no traffic moving from one end to the other. The visiting players that arrived in the country last night are staying in Pearl Continental Hotel on the Mall, because of which the road has been shut to everyday users. It did not open up again until well into the night.

A similar situation existed during the recently conducted PSL final, but back then the stay had only been for one night and it is not clear how such arrangements will be managed for the span of an entire week.

The traffic police, which had earlier issued a traffic plan for the duration of the World XI series, now seems to be at a cross roads where they do not know what course to take. Despite bringing in traffic officers from other cities of the province, the first day has proven to be a disaster. However traffic officials told Pakistan Today that “we will stick to our plan since it has been devised after due diligence and is the best possible course of action.”

At the same time, a sit-in by lady health workers at Charing Cross meant the further derailment of Lahore’s already tight traffic, as most vehicles diverted their routes towards either Ferozpur Road or Jail Road. The former of the two remained mostly stuck, with the bumper to bumper traffic continuing on towards Kainchi, even for those heading towards the DHA area.

Jail Road remained open, unlike Mall Road, but the excessive traffic meant the route remained bottleneck jammed towards Main Boulevard Gulberg. The traffic at that point was being diverted by wardens in all directions with no consideration for the commuters as all roads leading to Gulberg had been shut.

As a result of traffic spilling over, there was also an abnormally tight commute in areas such as Shadman, Model Town, and Muslim Town.

Furthermore, a number of stuck commuters lamented the situation, telling Pakistan Today that rather than giving alternative routes, traffic wardens were abusing those in the vehicles and diverting them wherever they felt was easy.

Traffic Police officials refused to acknowledge the situation, simply brushing it off by saying that “the high pressure situation can cause wardens to become irritable.”