Minor traffic jams, detours and empty bazaars mark MQM’s rally

Since traffic remains low on Sunday, the jams caused by the large processions were manageable.

Faraz Khan January 31, 2011

KARACHI: “Everyone looked so excited!” said 26-year-old Maimoona, who was stuck in traffic at Hassan Square around 3:15.

Her little blue car was surrounded by scores of motorcycles and buses filled with supporters and activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), all headed towards Jinnah Ground, Azizabad.

“I even saw lots of little kids on the motorbikes [with their parents] and at one point I saw people dancing on the road,” she added.

The traffic jam did not last for as long as was expected and Maimoona maintained the crowd seemed “well-organised” and “even though they were very much visible, they weren’t being scary or rowdy”.

Meanwhile, the rally’s effects were felt at the Sunday Bazaar in DHA as well.

“I circled the bazaar for 30 minutes but I couldn’t find the stall of the Pathan I regularly buy satin from. I asked another cloth vendor about him and he said many of the regular vendors have not set up their stalls because they have gone to attend the MQM conference. They did not know what the conference was about, but they knew it was big,” said Naila, a resident of phase VI.

The rally, scheduled for Sunday, sparked celebrations which began late Saturday night. According to a resident of Nazimabad, the MQM supporters pranced across the streets adjoining Mukka Chowk in FB Area, blocking the way.

All the roads entering into the venue of Qaumi Unity Conference were partially blocked for strict checking, which caused traffic jams in some parts of the city, including Ancholi, Ayesha Manzil, Gharibabad, Water Pump, Karimabad, Hussainabad, Tahir Villa, Naseerabad, Gulberg, Hassan Square and Sharifabad.

Karachi Transport Ittehad President Irshad Bukhari told The Express Tribune that MQM had hired several buses since Saturday night to facilitate their participants. “The drivers themselves are not interested to be a part of such processions and conferences because usually the political parties do not pay them [extra],” he explained. Public transport remained few and far between because several transporters had parked their vehicles in garages while many of the others were being used by the organisers of the conference.

“My owner had asked me to keep the vehicle parked and if the law and order situation remains undisturbed, it might be brought out after the conference,” a driver, Mehmood Khan, said. “It was like a day off for me as I spent my time with my family and friends.”

Traffic police was also given special directives to remain on the roads to control the traffic in their jurisdictions.

Deputy Inspector General of the Traffic police, Khurram Gulzar, told The Express Tribune said that the MQM was handling all the internal issues of security and traffic control and the external measures were taken by the traffic police.

“As it was Sunday, there was no major traffic jam in any locality of the city but we diverted traffic in some areas so that the processions could pass easily,” DIG Gulzar said. “The weekly off [holiday] of 50 per cent of traffic wardens was also cancelled due to the conference.”

The traffic jam did, however, annoy the voters who wanted to take part in the Karachi Union of Journalists’ elections. “I had to pick my colleague from Gulberg and there was no traffic jam when I reached there but I got stuck in traffic after I picked my colleague up and went to the Sharae Pakistan towards the Karachi Press Club,” said Kashif Naeem, a KUJ member.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st,  2011.


zafar iqbal | 12 years ago | Reply it was really a succesfull event.... millions of ppl from different communities languages religion attend the event.. and i hear that no urdu speaking ppl were there... that means mqm is nt only a urdu speaking jamat anymore... pathan pashtoons punjabis balochis sindhis hazaraewal bangali saraiki kashmiri and every other community is supporting mqm nw... and that event was no doubt a succeful cultural event .. uniting all the nation in one place . never seen this before. congragulations to the workers of mqm .. whom work too hard.. and to mqm quied altaf hussain... and all haq parast awam belonging to all sect, language ,community...altaf hussain is the only gr8 leader in pakistan who can unite the nation in one place .. no doubt
PS | 12 years ago | Reply @Junaid....Hmm... I wonder what are u actually refering too..
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