KARACHI, June 30: Traffic jams in almost every part of the city caused great hardship to citizens as the city’s major arteries and roads were submerged on Saturday following only 43 mm of rain.

Worst-hit were the people trying to return home and many commuters, having been stuck for hours in gridlock, had to abandon their vehicles and walk.

The Liaquatabad underpass was closed for vehicular traffic when it was flooded by sewage overflowing the adjacent Gujjar nullah. A city government official said that the pumping machines installed to draining rainwater were working but the Gujjar nullah had burst its banks. “Work to drain the sewage is underway and the underpass should reopen before midnight,” he said, adding that the Nazimabad and Ghareebabad underpasses had not been affected by the rain.

A large portion of Sharea Faisal was flooded by waist-deep water near Nursery and a section of the major artery from Karsaz was closed for vehicular traffic. “My Alto broke down when it was submerged in rainwater near Nursery and I had to abandon it,” said Raja Taimur, while Mohammed Imran called Dawn to report that he had been stuck in traffic near the National Stadium for nearly two hours.

Traffic approaching the city centre along Sharea Faisal was diverted to Habibullah Road, and Karsaz, while vehicles going to the airport, Malir, Landhi and the National Highway were diverted to Shahrah-e-Quaideen. Motorcyclists were worst-hit and in almost every part of the city, people were seen dragging their machines along. Mechanics, however, had a field day as their workshops were crowded by customers with malfunctioning motorbikes.

Major roads, including the II Chundrigar Road, MA Jinnah Road, University Road, Maulvi Tameezuddin Khan Road, Aiwan-i-Saddar Road, Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Jahangir Road, Shahrah-e-Pakistan, Garden Road, Sharah-e-Liaquat, MR Kiyani Road, Mohammad Bin Qasim Road, Korangi Road, Shaheed-i-Millat Expressway, Karimabad Road, Lasbella Road and Rashid Minhas Road were flooded, causing breakdown and traffic jams.

Sadaf Jabeen, who works in a bank on II Chundrigar Road, told Dawn that, “I was stuck in a traffic jam on Din Mohammad Wafai Road for half an hour and eventually had to leave the rickshaw and walk to office. The traffic police evidently failed to prepare a rain emergency plan in advance.”

“Why did the traffic police not identify the areas where rainwater accumulates and causes traffic jams?” questioned a disgruntled Mohammad Obaid while towing his motorbike through the water on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road.

Starting at around 3:30pm, the rains forced shopkeepers in major markets to pull down their shutters far ahead of scheduled closing times. “We don’t expect any more customers in view of this hostile weather,” said the owner of a bangle shop at Bohri Bazaar, Saddar. Commercial centres were in chaos as rainwater entered shops and shopkeepers tried to drain away the water that was mixed with sewage.