KARACHI: The University Road on Thursday became a nightmare for commuters as hundreds of vehicles got stuck in a traffic jam after dozens of people, protesting against extended power outages, blocked the road near old Sabzi Mandi.
The blockade affected the already slow movement of traffic on the road, due to security arrangements for PSL matches and the construction of the Red Line BRT.
The traffic jam, which started getting worse before sunset continued to face gridlock till late in the evening as police failed to disperse the protesters. The already crowded road left few options for the authorities to divert vehicles on alternative routes.
“Half an hour before sunset, a large number of people, mainly youngsters from the nearby Usmania Colony and PIB Colony situated off the main University Road, came out and blocked both sides near old Sabzi Mandi. They were protesting against the power outages in their areas,” said an official.
The protest first affected traffic flow on both sides of University Road, from Hassan Square to New Town, and within minutes stretched to Nipa Chowrangi and Gharibabad and Liaquatabad in district Central. A traffic mess was also witnessed on as far as Nazimabad’s Rizvia Society, Lasbela, Guru Mandir, Jahangir Road, S M Taufiq Road, etc.
Protest on University Road over extended power outage causes traffic gridlock
Affected commuters came up with strong reactions on social media.
They protested that apart from the protest, the flow of traffic always remained affected due to the blockade of certain roads and the narrowing of the University Road due to the construction of Red Line.
“I have seen at least three ambulances stuck in the traffic and there was no help. It’s been more than an hour and I have been unable to cross the patch between Hasan Square and [old] Sabzi Mandi,” said a commuter, sharing picture of the traffic on his twitter account.
According to the traffic plan issued for PSL matches to be played in Karachi till February 26, no traffic will be allowed to go to Stadium Road from Liaquatabad No10, Hassan Square Bridge.
Similarly, traffic will not be allowed to move towards the stadium from University Road’s Expo Centre turning, while traffic will continue to run from Stadium Road to Hassan Square.
Entry of all types of heavy traffic will be prohibited from Stadium Signal to Hassan Square.
The plan has also been prepared for parking and alternative routes for cricket fans coming to watch the matches at the stadium.
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2023