Traffic mess haunts commuters as Imran Khan leads membership campaign


–One killed after alleged collision with Khan’s motorcade

–Over 3000 police personnel deputed for security


LAHORE: The commuters had to face severe traffic problems on the main arteries and roads of the provincial capital as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan arrived here to participate in the two-day membership campaign for his party and addressed different membership camps across the metropolis.

As per the details, the PTI chief visited several camps established in different parts of the city including Liberty Chowk, Faisal Town, Yateem Khana, Sabzazar, Outfall Road, Shahdara roundabout, Jallo Mor, Dharampura Canal and PASCO Town near the EME society while addressing the party workers at some places including Liaqat Chowk of Sabzazar, Dharampura and Shahdara roundabout. The campaigning resulted in a severe traffic mess in nearby areas and commuters were stranded on roads as the traffic remained bumper to bumper in some cases.

The traffic coming from Ravi Bridge to Shahdara was suspended as no one was allowed to cross the Shahdara roundabout due to a stage set for Khan at the roundabout where he addressed the party workers.

Inamul Haq, a frustrated student told this scribe that he was en route to his classes at a nearby academy in Shahdara but was left stranded on the roads due to the traffic mess. “The membership campaign or staging protests is the everyone’s right but our political parties shouldn’t choose working days for such purpose as it drastically affects the routine of many,” he said.

Many other commuters also expressed similar views because Shahdara is the main entry point of the city and hundreds of people from Muridke, Narowal, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Jaranwala, Sheikhupura and Sargodha use this interchange to enter Lahore on a daily basis. Meanwhile, a traffic jam was also seen at some points of the canal road due to Khan’s visit to the party’s Dharampura camp.

It is important to note that a man also reportedly lost his life after being crushed by a vehicle of the PTI chief’s motorcade near the Ravi bridge, however, PTI spokesman from Punjab Dr Murad Ras said that Khan’s convoy had nothing to do with the incident as it occurred prior to the motorcade crossing the site.

Amid the traffic mess, PTI volunteers were seen selling membership forms to the people for Rs50 each and a card, having a picture of Imran Khan inscribed on it, would be issued to the new members after two weeks. A party volunteer Noorullah told this scribe that they had already completed the membership drive and Saturday’s event was a ceremonial activity as the party wanted to engage its workers through such activities ahead of the general elections.

Strict security arrangements could also be seen for Khan’s visit as more than 3000 police personnel were deputed to provide security to the participants of the campaign.

It is worth mentioning here that a terror alert was also issued to Imran Khan by the Lahore police a day before his rallies in the metropolitan along with some guidelines in order to avoid any untoward incident. Meanwhile, over 400 traffic wardens, 65 patrolling officers, 30 inspectors and 10 DSPs were also deputed under the supervision of SP Traffic Sadar Sardar Asif and SP Traffic City Asif Siddique to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.