Traders for relocation of Rawalpindi cricket stadium

Say their businesses suffer due to road blocks and stringent security measures

Qaiser Shirazi April 19, 2024
Police officers stand guard outside Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium after New Zealand cricket team pull out of a Pakistan cricket tour over security concerns, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan September 17, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS


Shopkeepers along Food Street and Shamsabad Double Road in Rawalpindi are up in arms over the sealing of entrance gates and parking lots along Cricket Stadium Road. They are also protesting the suspension of public transport on Shamsabad Double Road during the ongoing cricket matches between Pakistan and New Zealand.

Expressing displeasure over the stringent measures enforced by the police and district administration, the shopkeepers lamented the disruption to their businesses. They noted that during match series, even carts selling fruits and vegetables in nearby areas are forced to relocate. Furthermore, Shamsabad metro station stops are temporarily closed, with passengers redirected to Faizabad station.

The shopkeepers and citizens are calling for the relocation of the cricket stadium from its current location to either Parade Ground or Shukarparian. They argue that for the past two decades, the stadium's presence has caused significant inconvenience, with roads, schools, and private offices shuttered during foreign team matches. The closure of Food Street and restrictions on road access exacerbate the situation for locals.

Fawad Khan, vice president of the Food Street Union, proposed that if Food Street must be closed during matches, they should be allowed to offer takeaway and parcel services with appropriate security measures.

Faisal Ali, a tea stall owner on Food Street, said that he is struggling to meet his household expenses due to the closure of his business during matches.

Akhtar Mehmood, Senior Vice President of the Shamsabad Double Road Anjuman Tajaran, highlighted the adverse impact on the approximately 500 shops, 100 private offices, and six private schools lining the road. He urged the immediate relocation of the cricket stadium to Parade Ground Islamabad to minimise security costs and preserve citizens' livelihoods.

Meanwhile, citizens are worried by the closure of the entrance gate to families visiting Allama Iqbal Park and the prohibition of vehicle parking in its lot. The closure of shops, offices, and Food Street along Shamsabad Double Road is expected to persist for the duration of the matches, until April 21.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2024.


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