LAHORE, Feb 18: Motorists traveling on city roads on Monday witnessed worst traffic gridlocks across the city stemming from sit-downs by the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen and Imamia Students Organisation.
The protesters blocked four city roads to record their voice against the killings of Hazara Shias in Quetta in a suicide attack on Saturday. They blocked three major entrance and exit points of the provincial capital for traffic for hours besides the Governor’s House traffic signal on The Mall.
The public transport for inter-city as well as intra-city was badly affected because of large-scale protests.
Similarly, the Metro Bus System operations were also suspended around 5pm after a group of protesters occupied Chungi Amar Sidhu Station on Ferozepur Road and blocked the main track.
The systematic blockade of four points -- Thokar Niaz Baig Chowk, Governor’s House Chowk, Chungi Amar Sidhu and GT Road at Shahdara --virtually left no alternative routes to motorists.
Passengers coming to the National Highway from other cities such as Kasur, Gujranwala and Okara and from the Motorway II became the victims of traffic mess.
Several ambulances were also seen stuck in the long traffic queues.
The commuters of public transport were the worst sufferers as traffic on The Mall, Canal Road, Ferozepur Road, GT Road and Multan Road was diverted to alternative roads.
Traffic wardens were found absent from a majority of duty points and others made half-hearted efforts to regulate traffic.
Worst-hit roads were Multan Road, Raiwind Road, The Mall (from Chowk Alhamra to GOR-I traffic signal), Egerton Road, Empress Road, Abbot Road, Queens Road, Lawrence Road, Davies Road, Ferozepur Road, Canal Road, Johar Town Expo Road, GT Road at Shahdara and Bund Road.
The places included Shimla Pahari, Thokar Niaz Baig Chowk, Chungi Amar Sidhu MBS Station, G T Road Imamia Colony Ferozewala, Motorway II entry on Multan Road, Johar Town Expo Centre,“Though a majority of roads were blocked by Shia protesters, impatient motorists made things worse by violating one-way driving,” said Mansoor Khan, of Johar Town.
“Motorists coming from Egerton Road drove their vehicles to wrong side which blocked traffic coming from Davies Road and adjacent roads around Shimla Pahari. Some wardens got cleared one lane to regulate entangled traffic,” said Mansoor.
He said he arrived at Gulberg from Government College University Lahore in three hours.
Tariq Gill, another car-rider, said he took one and half hours to reach Faisal Chowk from Chowk Alhamra.
“There was a traffic chaos every where and motorists were left abandoned,” he said Chief Traffic Officer Captain (retired) Sohail Chaudhry blamed protests and violation of one-way the causes of traffic congestions.
He said the mourners also tried to block Babu Sabu Interchange in an attempt to block traffic coming to Bund Road.
The CTO said diversions had been placed at troubled spots and roads with additional deployment of 350 wardens.
He appealed to the motorists to stick to diversion plan and avoid violating one-way traffic.