In the jostle to get seats on passenger vans and buses to celebrate Eid with their families, many from the city did not make it to their native villages and hometowns.
The roads of Peshawar were deserted on Monday as those studying or working in the walled city decided to visit their families ahead of the weekend. However, those who waited till the last minute found it difficult to find a place on public transport vehicles because of the sheer number of passengers trying to clamber on board the limited options.
“The number of passengers was more than the capacity of vehicles at the bus stands. That is the reason I could not make it,” said Azhar Khan, a resident of Swat who said he would celebrate Eid on Tuesday instead.
Standing at The Lahore Bus Stand, Khan said people were not following guidelines issued by transport authorities and had abandoned all etiquette, pushing and shoving others to get ahead. His luggage was another problem as he could not leave it behind and nor could he take it with him. “Had I any knowledge about the rush at bus stands, I would have left for my village a day earlier.”
Employees at bus stands seemed at a loss too. “We do sell tickets before passengers board vehicles on routine days, but on such occasions, tickets are sold to those who manage to secure seats,” explained Naeem Gul, adding many passengers were left behind.
As a result, those as unfortunate as Azhar Khan complained of mismanagement at the Lahore Bus Stand.
“The management does not seem to be active. Youngsters don’t let the elderly get a seat. We had heard, but now we know, might is right,” said Sajjad Khan, a government employee leaving for Bannu.
The situation at Haji Camp Bus Stand was similar. Those who could not push the others saw the buses disappear into the distance, along with the hope of spending Eid with their families.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.