Hundreds of passengers arriving at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport were stranded due to the closure of major roads in the twin cities.
The federal capital has been sealed in the wake of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s ‘Azadi march’ and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)’s ‘Inqilabi march’. Passengers stranded at the airport belong to various districts of Rawalpindi Division, including Chakwal, Attock and Jhelum, as well as those from other parts of the country and the globe.
The passengers, including women and children, are staying at various hotels while waiting for the opening of the closed highways and roads.
Ashiq, one of the affected passengers arriving from Saudi Arabia, informed The Express Tribune that he along with his three children and wife arrived at Islamabad airport on Wednesday evening and was shocked to find all the roads closed. He tried to make his way to Attock but the blockades at the main GT Road forced him to return.
Ashiq said police officials told him to go back and stay at any hotel till the situation normalises. He said he took his friend’s help to find temporary accommodation, but the whole episode was extremely inconvenient and frustrating.
Other passengers had similar stories to share.
Cancellation and delay
Meanwhile, a number of flights were either cancelled or delayed due to lack of fuel or unavailability of passengers. Many passengers failed to reach the airport due to the closure of roads.
Five domestic flights from Islamabad to Karachi and back were cancelled on Thursday while the schedule of several international flights was also disturbed due to the prevailing situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2014.