KARACHI, Aug 24: Vehicular traffic remained disturbed on various roads and thoroughfares here on Thursday due to traffic diversions as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement staged a protest rally on a busy artery in the downtown.

M.A. Jinnah Road was closed for vehicular movement since noon resulting in traffic load shifting to other roads, including Sharea Faisal and Nishtar Road, which remained crowded till the evening.

The MQM had organised the rally near Tibet Centre on M. A. Jinnah Road to deplore the alleged desecration of holy names and inscriptions by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal in the national assembly on Wednesday.

As the organisers of the rally blocked all entry points towards M. A. Jinnah Road to facilitate movement of the participants, the traffic police had to close the whole artery to vehicular traffic.

Mere 1,200 traffic police personnel per shift deployed to regulate more than 1.5 million vehicles in the mega city appeared helpless as they miserably failed to manage deluge of vehicles at different diversions resulting in traffic jams at various points.

The worst-affected points were Jail Chowrangi, Teen Hatti, Lasbella, Sharah-i-Liaquat, Saddar and Metropole intersections.

The traffic coming from Liaquatabad on S. M. Taufeeq Road to Jehangir Road already moves at a snail’s pace at Teen Hatti Bridge due to the work on erection of columns, for this section of the Lyari Expressway, in the middle of the bridge. Motorists and commuters faced further problems when traffic police closed Jehangir Road for buses and minibuses to facilitate the rally and diverted heavy vehicles and commercial carriers from Teen Hatti Bridge towards either Jail Chowrangi or Lasbella on Nishtar Road. The vehicles reaching Guru Mandir intersection were diverted towards Shahrah-i-Quaideen or Soldier Bazaar.

Similarly, the traffic arriving at Lasbella Bridge from Nazimabad was diverted towards Garden on Nishtar Road. However, light and private vehicles were allowed to use Jehangir Road and Business Recorder Road up to the diversion at Guru Mandir intersection.

The traffic kept moving at a snail’s pace at both the points as the traffic police failed to stop movement of heavy vehicles among other means of transport. Heavy vehicles are not allowed to ply within the city limits during daytime but their continued movement in violation of the ban added to the miseries of motorists and commuters.

Traffic congestion was also seen in Soldier Bazaar, around Saeed Manzil, Garden, PIB Colony, etc.

It was noticed that a large number of buses, minibuses and coaches was engaged to transport participants of rally from different areas of the city to the venue of the rally. Although, operators of public transport vehicles remained tight-lipped about use of the vehicles for the purpose, people in big numbers were seen waiting for such vehicles at various bus stops as their number appeared remarkably inadequate. Most of those seen plying on roads in the Central part of the city appeared crowded with passengers.

The traffic coming from Tower had been diverted at Shahrah-i-Liaquat towards M.R. Kayani Road and Sharea Faisal. The already crowded roads in the downtown area were bunged up with the additional load due to the diversion at this point. A chaotic situation was witnessed near Metropole Hotel and Fountain Chowk.

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