Thousands of Lahore’s citizens had to suffer miserably on the roads due to the ‘Accountability’ rally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as all the major thoroughfares of the city were closed with heavy containers, and according to the government the blockades were meant to protect the participants of the rally from any untoward incident.
The rally started from Shahdara – the entrance point of the city after a brief address of PTI chairman Imran Khan at 5 PM. The caravans of PTI started reaching Shahdara from other districts including Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Okara and Narowal in the noon and there was an extreme traffic mess near the Shahdara roundabout. Long queues of vehicles were seen in Shahdara and several ambulances got struck in the traffic.
A ten-month-old baby lost his life in Shahdara when his father could not find the way out in the traffic mess and failed to reach the hospital on time. “My son breathed his last in my hands and I will not forgive the politicians as they are responsible for his death”, the grieved father said.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and constituted a committee to probe into it. The committee will comprise Lahore commissioner, District Coordination Officer (DCO) and Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) and it will submit its inquiry report in the next 24 hours.
Nauman Ahmad, a student of intermediate, told Pakistan Today that he has been waiting for public transport for last two hours as he had to go to the academy. “I normally use Metro Bus but today the Metro has limited its route and is not coming to Shahdara due to the rally of PTI,” he said. The Metro bus had cut down its route from Gajju Matta to MAO College because of the rally.
There was a massive traffic gridlock at all the entry points of the city on Saturday because of the caravans of PTI coming from other districts. The traffic was moving at snail’s pace at Multan Road, Bund Road, Yateem Khana, Thokar Niaz Beg and Babu Sabu Interchage increasing the miseries of commuters manifold.
According to the Lahore police, more than 5,000 police officials were there to provide security to the participants of the rally under the supervision of 8 Superintendents of Police (SPs), 20 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) and 72 Station House Officers (SHOs). “The security of Lahore has been beefed up after the attack at Christian Colony of Peshawar and Districts courts of Mardan”, DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf said, and added that the police officials were deputed at the rooftops of all important buildings coming in the route of the rally from Shahdara to Mall Road.
Moreover, more than 100 commandoes of Punjab Police were also deputed for the security of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. As many as 1,000 volunteers of civil defense and officials of bomb disposal squad were also on high alert.
Loss of business:
Almost all the business activity remained suspended in the city as major markets were closed due to the rally of PTI. According to Federal Minster for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid, a huge sum of 5 million was spent on the security arrangements for PTI’s rally. He further added that a loss of Rs 4 billion was incurred to Lahore because of the suspension of business activity in the metropolitan. “If Imran Khan is serious in the accountability move, then he should come forward for the passage of accountability bill,” he said.