Yesterday evening at around 5:30 pm I decided to a walk on the road behind Bilawal House when I noticed a huge police presence. They were stopping all heavy traffic and very quickly a long line of oil tankers began to form.

-Photo by Vaqar Ahmed

Upon speaking with one of the policeman there, I learnt that Mr. Zardari had gone to the Hyperstar Supermarket and the heavy traffic would move only after he had come back.

-Photo by Vaqar Ahmed

The tankers had to wait for an hour before they were allowed to move. I took this as an opportunity to snap a few pictures highlighting just how thoughtful our rulers are.

The policeman and all the truck drivers were chatting. And everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood. None seemed overly concerned about the delay.

-Photo by Vaqar Ahmed

I told the drivers and the policeman there that in my 25 years in Canada I did not encounter one case where the traffic was held up due to VIP movement. They were all amazed.

In addition, they said now that anyone of any importance had armed guards in their convoys, it was hard to tell if it was them or the actual criminals who are the greater threat to the people of Pakistan.


The author is an engineer turned part-time journalist who likes to hangout at unfashionable places like shrines, railway stations and bus stops.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

More From This Section

IMF not satisfied with bill on ‘SBP autonomy’

IMF is expected to take up the issue with Pakistan during third quarterly review of the $6.78 billion bailout package.

PM orders judicial probe into attack on Hamid Mir

The government also announced a reward of Rs10 million for any information leading to the arrest of culprits.

Sacked Pemra chief to challenge his dismissal

The petition says that ex-Pemra chairman has not been given a chance to clear himself of charges levelled against him.

Over 300 high-profile NAB cases pending

NAB is still mulling over more than 300 pending cases despite its claim that the cases have been reopened.

Comments are closed.

Comments (82)

September 20, 2012 9:20 pm
Zardari is overly concerned about his security. I understand that he has also closed of the road in front of Bilawal House in Clifton. What is he afraid of? His wealth is all outside the country and his son will definitely inherit it all if Zardari is killed. besides like his wife he will be christened Shaheed-e-Qaum. It is a shame that Pakistani people elect such fearful rulers. it is a shame if such rulers that cannot face their own public stay in power.
September 21, 2012 6:05 am
Maqbool,very well said but it is not orignal thought:-).nevertheless what a lovely comment.I am in Australia and many MP's and local counselor's travel by buses and trains and even bicycles.
September 21, 2012 6:01 am
It is very unfortunate to have such a heavy protocol but at the same time we must understand the threat to the VVIP's as well.
Abdul Rashid
September 21, 2012 7:46 pm
Fully agreed we are living in prison we cant move without the orders of our jailers, may ALLAH PAK save from these evils.
Ralph McQuay
September 21, 2012 4:46 pm
Yep, and you stay in Pakistan!
September 21, 2012 10:56 am
Pakistanis in Canada have become Canadians, they follow the law and respect fellow citizens.
September 21, 2012 6:32 am
We deserve this because we let thing guy run the country for 4 years and he is taking us back to stone age, no electricity, no water, no gas, food shortage, unemployment well done Zardari you have really taken Pakistan to a new level.
September 21, 2012 6:32 am
What shopping was he doing?
September 21, 2012 5:19 pm
what else president can do as he have nothing much to so do as country is running smoothly so no worried, keep it up president, waiting for next visit, but do inform atleast 24 hours before to serve you much better by keeping the roads empty.
September 21, 2012 4:41 pm
Dude, Please don't compare Canada with India or Pak.
September 20, 2012 2:44 pm
I think u r the only one Pakistani who visited Canada and brought this information back. Did u tell them in 25 years u never seen any canadain as much happy?
Dr. Rahman
September 21, 2012 2:30 pm
Really! What makes you so expert. Living in Canada gives you the right to speak so low about Pakistan. Pakistan is the victim of Afghan War! Your native India has its share of unrest!
September 21, 2012 10:43 pm
there used to be a person who used to come to my store almost everyday to buy everyday neccesities until after a few months i was watching him on TV,thats when i came to know that he is the state senator.This is in New York
Ralph McQuay
September 21, 2012 4:44 pm
'Chaos and anarchy' - don't you already have that!!!
September 21, 2012 10:24 am
I disagree with u Sir, they need heavy protection in order to avoid being killed by someone who knows half of this country's problem are due to LOOTING of these so called VVIP.
September 21, 2012 8:22 am
I love zardari because he has ruined PPP in a way that no one else could have done. Long live zardari for the demise of PPP...The longer he stays in power, the beter it is for opening people eyes...
September 22, 2012 10:14 am
Generalisations and labelling people is offensive
September 21, 2012 8:05 am
Welcome to the day-to-day life of people in Islamabad/Pindi, where people are used to being stopped for 1 hour or so due to VIP movement on a daily basis - stories of people dying in ambulances, people being late for work, school, exams etc. are very common. As a student, my favourite excuse to give my father for not getting home on time had become: "Mein Naaqay per phuss gayaa tha 1 ghaintay kay liyay. Musharraf ka convoy jaa rahaa thaa"
September 21, 2012 7:53 am
With due respect, Zambia is yet to get to Pakistan's level. Then the next step would be to become a developed Zambia.
September 21, 2012 7:51 am
If the VVIPs are under threat, they should not appear in public places. Wasting people's time is not justified no matter what.
September 21, 2012 7:45 am
No Pakistanis in Canada? You obviously haven't been there.
September 21, 2012 7:38 am
VVIP must also know this isn't Canada or Denmark and should be careful.
Riaz Khan
September 21, 2012 10:45 am
Please do not compare Canada with Pakistan! They are people whereas we are just bunch of crowd.
Syed Ahmed
September 21, 2012 3:48 pm
In the past 10 years that I am in Canada, I have not seen a single VIP movement on the road and else where of the kind witnessed in Pakistan. In a Bank, a Café or at the air port you never know who is behind in the queue. Four years ago I saw Mississauga Mayor Hazel Michelin in the Square One Mall in Carassauga festival with only one unarmed guard.
Tariq Ahmed
September 20, 2012 2:33 pm
Our rulers act as if they have solved all th eproblems of the country and deserve to be driven about in long lines of cavalcades like preeining peacocks. The more useless the ruler, the longer lines of police escorts. They are nothing but show off puppets in empty suits. The day our people realize, these puppet rulers are nothing without them, and drag them and their escorts thru the streets, will e the day our nation does a U turn.....until then, there is no hope for change.
September 21, 2012 3:32 pm
Good job Vaqar Ahmed . We need people like you to educate us.
September 20, 2012 11:25 pm
Canada is an oasis of serenity and sanity. Pakistan is a cesspool of terror and insanity. I live in Canada.
September 22, 2012 3:01 am
The president goes shopping while the country burns.. many people died in meaningless rioting over some film, and the president, instead of trying to do his part to stop the violence, goes shopping.
September 21, 2012 5:16 am
It is done everywhere , But in Pakistan it is done without any reason and for a little walk. Not only the main route was blocked but the adjacent roads and every crossing that leads to the route was blocked.
September 21, 2012 3:22 pm
What about inside the Hyper Star? I wonder if it was not vacated as well. I would like to advise Mr. President to chose Dubai for future shopping, it's just a sea across, and wouldn't take much time in his private, albeit public funded, jet.
Jiten Maurya
September 22, 2012 12:43 pm
saeed is not right. president of united states is always going and coming. I have never heard him blocking a freeway for even an hour. I remember Pres. Clinton was heavily criticized as he had gone for a hair-cut in Los angles while his plane was blocking traffing at an airport.
September 22, 2012 5:03 am
you right but Saeed needs to know traffic doesn't stop on any VIP movement. Very rarely you can see but never more than 5 minutes. Better see western world rather than assuming the facts.
September 21, 2012 6:11 pm
Seriously? Stay in Canada, and don't worry about it. Yawn.
Akeel R
September 20, 2012 4:52 pm
Dude.. why do you have to compare the G20 conference situation with this..
September 22, 2012 10:08 am
Well said
September 21, 2012 1:47 am
There is a difference between holding up traffic for an official conference and holding up traffic so the President can go shopping!
September 21, 2012 7:20 pm
syed ahsan
September 21, 2012 6:28 am
I went to Dhaka in 2000. VIP or no VIP, traffic is always a mess there. Karachi is much better.
September 21, 2012 5:02 pm
Very well agreed with you Riaz Khan.
Zakir Akbar
September 21, 2012 1:38 pm
Siraj, I am surprised by your lack of undertsanding of Pakistan law and order situation. you perhaps were not born in seventies. i grew up in those times and have seen head of state of not only pakistan but other states, car would pass by on the streets within feet away from common man. As a matter of fact, look at Obamas security protocol in US, it is as worst as it is here in Pakistan. At any cost you have to protect the head of institutions of your country, otherwise chaos and anarchy will prevail.
Gerry D'Cunha
September 21, 2012 11:52 am
pakistan cannot be compared to any civilized country. for 64 years matters in pakistan have gone from bad to worst and I don't blame Zardari for taking security steps - he should have choose shopping in dubai or london with no security threats.
September 21, 2012 1:47 pm
I like this comment !
September 20, 2012 4:55 pm
And where the president's children study in government schools ;-)
September 20, 2012 4:15 pm
That too, but the main factor is the response of the ordinary person. In this country pf the Pure , nobody cares wheher the prices of food is increased because all the lands/factories are owned by the people in Power. Natural gas prices are increased to deter people from using a cleaner mode of fuel, who cares. Our rulers are like kings of the 10th century and people are docile. Roads are blocked because the the rulers consider this land as their fiefdom. hell with the docile people
amra ali
September 20, 2012 4:24 pm
'they' ARE the actual criminals!! you are living very dangerously mr.vaqar!!!
A. Khan
September 20, 2012 5:46 pm
G20 was a major event with many heads of state visiting Toronto. But author is generally correct in that traffic is not held up for VIP movement in Canada or even in UK for that matter.
September 22, 2012 2:59 am
By the what Zaradri bought from the supermarket,if someone could guess?
Vaqar Ahmed
September 20, 2012 3:32 pm
Well put! I remember meeting Rene Levesque the Premier of Quebec in a supermarket standing in a line to buy his grocery!! On another occasion a friend entered the elevator in his dentist's building to find a grinning Mr. Brian Mulroney the Canadian Prime Minister (he was always grinning somehow. Maybe because he was a crooked sort of a fellow involved in shady deals)!
September 20, 2012 3:37 pm
I guess if I were a full time journalist I would have been in Toronto (I lived in Montreal)! But note though that in Canada just 2 persons have died in the past 50 years or more as a result of political violence!! Obviously, that is plain boring and so I have moved back to Pakistan.
September 20, 2012 3:21 pm
The writer never faces anything of the sorts in Canada for 25 years because there are no Taliban, SSP,L-E-J or for that matter countless other terrorist organizations out to get the Canadian President.
September 20, 2012 3:12 pm
Really amazed....! We only care for an individual and leave the masses back to await their turn. This is not that Islam teaches us. Pakistan was not born to distinguish VIPs from Aam Admi (common people) and to let few people dominate the majority. The vision of Pakistan was based on the principles of Isam----which is equality, as every human is equal in the eyes Allah.
arif faqeerana
September 20, 2012 6:56 pm
Vaqar, aap ghalat keh gaye janab. VIPs are way too common. Kindly correct yourself and refer to President Zardari a VVIP.
September 22, 2012 4:24 am
how pathetic...he can't go to supermarket without blocking the whole area. Scared!!!
September 20, 2012 7:05 pm
Traffic was not held up for convoys however certain parts for the downtown were closed for G20. I think that is acceptable since leaders from 20 countries were there which is a total different situation than the President going shopping.
September 21, 2012 2:46 pm
That made me laugh, although I really shouldn't be. It's honestly sad where his priorities lie. Delaying hundreds for his own amusement. I sincerely hope we never have to encounter another president like him ever again.
September 21, 2012 9:47 am
Imran, I guess Shankar missed a punctuation. His question probably was, "Why? Are there no Pakistanis in Canada?". Shanlar, please correct if my assumption is incorrect.
September 20, 2012 2:13 pm
The reason why Canadians don't travel around with armed convoys and block roads is mainly because noone jumps infront of your car over there and blows up.
September 21, 2012 12:37 pm
Be glad the road was eventually cleared for traffic. Our dear president may jolly well erect masive walls around it, forbid entry to all public traffic, and install a police guard around at teh entrance. He has already practiced this on Khayaban-e-Saadi in front onf Bilalwal House.
September 20, 2012 2:28 pm
Same kind of problems exist in Bangladesh but in a very lesser extent compared to that of Pakistan!
Maqboolfida (@Maqboolfida)
September 20, 2012 2:16 pm
A developed country is not where ordinary people travel by car, but one where public servants can travel by public transport!!
September 20, 2012 9:06 pm
what happened at G20 was not state sanctioned, nor was it to felicitate special supreme leaders....At worst, it was a one-off abuse of power by the Toronto police and nothing don't see these things happening as a daily occurrence in Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, London or any major world city, where entire traffic is blocked off to allow the leader to shop! ..the world is not an unsafe place, only Pakistan is which in turn makes the rest of the world unsafe because of the hatred spread by the people of this mad nation!
Shahzad Akhund
September 22, 2012 12:07 am
I agree. Apparently, Mr. Vaqar's Canada is the only country where traffic does not get stopped due to the presence of the Head of the State. I believe that a peaceful protest to show disgust and contempt of the film about the Holy Prophet is not only the right thing , it must be done. However, damaging the property of people who had nothing to do with the film is senseless and wrong.
September 21, 2012 7:46 am
You rock man! You stay in Canada
September 20, 2012 10:28 pm
My friend, for G20, leaders from all over the world came to Toronto. Offcourse they had to block everything. 3 years back, Stephen Harper came to Mississauga and I happened to be passing by the area. I did not see any heavy police presence except few RCMP officers and there was no traffic blockade either. And for this thief (Zardari), they had to block everything. God bless Pakistan.
Hyder Ali
September 22, 2012 6:19 am
Dear sir, Now a days wherever you live the general public is suffering due to incompetent leadership. Democracy's new mantra is fool the people, cheat the people and loot the people. Kind Regards, Hyder
Abdul Malik
September 20, 2012 11:57 pm
During the G20 conference, there were several clashes between the public and police but that was an exception case and not a trend, as it is in our Pakistan.
September 21, 2012 7:11 pm
East and west pakistan is the best!
September 21, 2012 12:09 am
Zardari is shopping ever since he has been president.
September 22, 2012 11:00 am
Hyder Ali expressed his views about democracy which are facts belonging to the present govt.'s attitude. In future,we do hope for the better situation if democracy prevails.
September 20, 2012 2:45 pm
Mr. Part-time journalist seems like werent in Toronto at the time of G20 conference back in 2010 I believe traffic was hold up, innocent people were thrown into jails for protesting and what not...World has become an unsafe place and our men in power are more scared then people who are actually running the show behind curtains
Sure Kant
September 22, 2012 1:55 am
Did not know Zardari was an ordinary human being who also went shopping just like me. The policemen have to their duty, no blaming them.
September 21, 2012 2:53 am
There is no need to criticize since this is usual protocol of him being the President. For US President to be out on the street, roads and walkways are often blocked in all directions for extended period of time. Though, Public get a chance to wave at the man they voted for unlike our larger than life figures living on western donations. You could argue Zardari being aware of deficiencies in our road network at least should know better and avoid meaningless burden to public. Now, who wants to bet he does not give a hoot?
September 20, 2012 8:03 pm
Funny how ONLY Zardari gets targeted. I mean NO ONE else does this except Zardari or maybe Gilani. Am sick of you so called journalists
Shankar Bandyopadhay
September 20, 2012 3:57 pm
Why are there no Pakistanis in Canada ?
September 21, 2012 9:34 pm
Several time I held back at I90 highway For hours in Chicago due to USA vice president travelling from Ohare airport to chicago . Thing are same everywhere But there is never religious rally in Canada and USA as far I remember .Please Write something about it.
September 20, 2012 9:37 pm
Spare the developed countries here in zambia i have not seen any such thing.
September 21, 2012 3:33 am
I think your comment needs some qualification - road blocks during the G20 riots in Toronto were caused by the people - not their rulers - even during that time , state capacity was intact and helpful detours were also set up for both pedestrians and traffic -
September 21, 2012 3:37 am
Any idea on his shopping list?
September 21, 2012 4:23 pm
Nothing stops the President from shopping in Dubai. He should have gone there, and left this plundered country to the poor masses.
September 21, 2012 4:32 am
Mr Shaukat with due respect U r missing the point raised by this man. I agree with him, these rulers become problem for public - Such security is not needed in Britain for the Prime minister and Queen rather I personally have seen them casually travelling in Public trtains with only one or two body guards.
September 21, 2012 4:39 am
Dear MR Waqar I appreciate your point,, I have been living in UK for last seven years and no such non-sence rather Britain Prime minister just joined the crowed on the roads to see the Atheletes,,, at one occasion he was in a public underground train with no such heavy armed police ,, protocols and etc etc. But it is not fault of pakistani president or Primie minister ,, rather their securityAdvisors who tell them that if they will not keep huge security they will not be considered important and may be attacked.
September 21, 2012 4:45 am
Once again..I like the way you capture a "not so common" men. Great shots Vaqar Sahib! Somehow there is something in the expressions of these folks that expats like me still feel a connection after so many years. Cannot describe that. As some SAYANA had said "a picture is worth a thousand words". AZFAR. Dallas.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?