THE fetish of unplanned urbanisation has started choking our communication arteries with gay abandon. Like the plaque that calcifies our arteries and gives us heart attacks our wanton violation of rules has started choking our highways.
A newly built mall on G.T Road near gate number one of DHA Phase II has added another bottleneck for the main highway leading from Swan bridge to Rawat. The slow retrofitting of bridge on the river Swan for widening the bottleneck was a problem one could live with in the fond hope that finally the deliverance from a choked bottleneck was close at hand.
Just when the steel fixing on the bridge indicated the onset of the promised dawn, another nightmare was unobtrusively offloaded on hapless commuters. The Amazon Mall that has been recently inaugurated located short of DHA Phase II gate one is bang on G.T Road with no parking space for vehicles but on the portion of the widened road stretch.
It is strange that how a big mall with apparently inadequate parking space was allowed to be constructed and then opened with vehicles parked on G.T Road. Nowhere in the world does any civilised nation allow a parking lot on one of the largest and busiest highways of the country. Why was an NOC issued for such a project without adequate parking arrangements?
Was an impact analysis of the roadside parking on traffic flow done? Why are the traffic police of Islamabad and Rawalpindi so munificent in allowing parking on G.T Road for a mall?
The above and many other questions beg a serious soul-searching on the part of regulating agencies and traffic police. The incident is emblematic of a bigger malaise; creation of facts on ground in collusion with officials and authorities for violation of laws and then getting those sanctified through post-facto legalisation.
I think if we have to survive as a law-abiding nation, the time has come for the courts to take notice of all such violations and not let the facts created in violation of rules stand in the way of pre-empting such public nuisances.
Brig (r) Raashid Wali Janjua
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2020