KARACHI: Karachiites on Tuesday suffered massive and severe traffic jams as security and police authorities blocked key arteries leading to the Seaview area and banned pillion-riding to avoid any ‘untoward situation during celebration’ on New Year’s Eve.
A ban on carrying arms was also imposed in the city.
However, except the pillion-riding ban, the curb on carrying licensed weapons was hardly proved effective as the city reverberated with heavy gunfire seconds after the clock struck 12 midnight.
The other arrangements relating to traffic caused a great deal of inconvenience to motorists.
Since major roads leading to Seaview in Karachi’s South district were blocked for vehicular traffic, the situation caused a severe traffic jam first on alternative routes and then it stretched to other districts. The situation became worst by the sunset and the roads in the district East also suffered the impact of the traffic jams.
The traffic mess, which started from Korangi, later reached Sharea Faisal and gradually moved to roads in Gulshah-i-Iqbal. The situation was also not very different at Lasbella traffic intersection where a number of vehicles became stuck in the traffic mess.
In the South district, vehicles were seen moving in the streets of the Defence and Clifton’s residential blocks after main thoroughfares were blocked.
The authorities defended the measures to restrict the New Year festivities, saying it was all done in the interest of the common man.
“There was no surprise as every year all such arrangements are put in place,” said Sharfuddin Memon, a consultant at the Sindh home department. “Apart from violent incidents amid celebrations which cause casualties, there is also an element of threat which demands strict security arrangements on all such events.”
Strange enough, before blocking roads in District South the authorities did not make any arrangements to post traffic officials to divert traffic to alternative routes. The unchecked movement of the vehicles along the blocked and open roads worsened the situation.