ISLAMABAD: In a bid to provide relief to the residents of the surrounding areas, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the deputy commissioner to open Masjid Road and Municipal Road for traffic which had been closed by the capital administration owing to security concerns.

The order to open the roads came in response to a petition filed by the citizens of the area who had to use alternative routes to reach workplaces and schools.

Justice Mohsin Kayani who was hearing the plea had summoned the deputy commissioner last month to explain the reasons for permanently closing the road in front of the Regional Directorate of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Masjid Road.

As he appeared before the high court on Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon apprised the bench of the reasons behind closing the roads.

Justice Kayani says issues should be resolved through dialogue and not by blocking main roads

He said since the students of Lal Masjid seminary would frequently protest on this road, the district administration decided to close this route to avert such demonstrations.

At this, Justice Kayani said that instead of making the lives of common citizens difficult by closing the main roads, the administration should resolve such issues through dialogue. On every other road, protests take place, so will the administration shut down all the roads in the capital, he asked.

It is pertinent to note that about 200 people, including teenagers and minors and some gunmen, under the leadership of former khateeb of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz occupied the worship place last month. The police had cordoned off Lal Masjid with a well-equipped contingent and barbed wire while the cleric along with the gathering was inside.

Khayaban-i-Suhrwardi

A lawyer present at the hearing also complained about the closure of Khayaban-i-Suhrwardi by a state institution. A government official responded that the road was currently closed due to construction work.

The IHC judge also said that the road was opened through an order of the said court a few years ago and asked the lawyer to get his facts straight.

A road in G-9 sector that had been closed to traffic due to apparent security reasons was cleared for traffic in a voluntary move by the intelligence agency.

According to a resident of the area, road blockades had spelled misery for people residing in the areas. The biggest problem was faced by students and professionals who had to take detours to reach their destination, causing them distress. The IHC’s decision has put an end to our difficulties, the resident told Dawn.

“This blockade had troubled us for more than four years. It cost us time and money because we had to take longer routes to get to the school,” said Rashid, a student who lives in G-6/4.

The blockades also resulted in traffic congestion in the area as traffic remained jammed on the adjacent roads during rush hours. It was especially worse at the Melody intersection during working hours and school timings.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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