VIP movement

Published October 13, 2009

THIS is apropos of government motorcades passing through roads of Lahore and the subsequent inconvenience caused to the civilian traffic. This VIP movement across the city has become a regular feature.

Traffic is halted all over Lahore for certain government officials so that they can conveniently travel to their desired destination. Traffics signals are temporarily turned off, police and traffic wardens are deployed, and a major portion of the city's traffic is brought to a standstill.

Although some protocol is necessary for our government officials for security measures, the civilian traffic is completely disregarded at the behest of those who govern them.

My first issue is with regard to the duration of the traffic shutdowns brought about these motorcades. Traffic is simultaneously brought to a stop on most of the major roads of Lahore for long periods of time which range between 40 and 50 minutes, if not more.

In a city already plagued by highly congested traffic, the last thing that civilians need is a delay in their daily commuting schedule.

Secondly, the deployment of police officials raises another point of concern. Whenever these motorcades pass, police officials and traffic wardens are moved from their stationed positions and heavily deployed along the entire length of the route.

We do not have an unlimited force of police and traffic officials. Such special arrangements make other regions of the city more prone to traffic mess and less vigilant monitoring of crime due to a shrunk police force in the rest of the city.

Further complaints are also raised by individuals who are asked to move their vehicles from outside their own property, just because they hinder the designated route. Moreover, in the unbearable heat of Lahore's afternoons, those in vehicles waiting for the motorcade to pass at least have the option to turn on the airconditioner, but what about the poor police and traffic wardens is it not cruel to let them stand for long periods of time and face not only the heat of the sun but also the lash-out by the disgruntled civilians stuck in traffic?

I bring this up as a concerned member of Lahore's civil society and am, just like the rest, severely upset with this situation. We have been made hostage in our own city and on our own streets. Is the security of a handful of officials more important than the time and distress of the entire city? I think not.

I urge protocol management officials to coordinate the passage of motorcades in a manner that does not cause a nuisance to the general public.

RAFAY SHAHID
Lahore

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