Travelling between Rawalpindi and Islamabad via the Islamabad Airport Road was never as time-consuming or risky as it has become in the last few months. You need at least two hours for travelling between Rawalpindi and Islamabad in a personal vehicle, when the actual travel time is of 30 minutes. On local transport, the time can be doubled. But the ordeal doesn’t end here. High traffic movement, protest demonstrations, road accidents and traffic jams on the airport road have become frequent occurrences that consume your time.
Apparently, barricades fixed on roads to ensure security and the construction work on the Metro Bus Service project are two hindrances causing inconvenience to around 0.6 million commuters, including a large number of students, government employees, and traders, as traffic influx of the two main roads linking Rawalpindi with the capital city have also been diverted to this road. However, barricades and construction work cannot alone be blamed for the whole mess when one can clearly observe an administrative loophole on the part of city managers and other stakeholders.
Long queues and fatal accidents outside the Benazir Bhutto Airport was not a new phenomenon for visitors and commuters at the time of departure and arrival of flights due to absence of facilities that ensure airport security. The airport administration didn’t address the already-present problems on its part and shifted the visitors’ waiting area on the road. This shifting of the visitors’ area on to the road has happened without keeping in mind the prevailing security situation and the long-standing issue of traffic jams.
The passengers have to keep crossing the road as well as carry heavy luggage and the traffic officials on duty remain busy in helping them do so. Apart from this problem, gathering hundreds of people in an insecure environment also exposes them to security threats.
The airport administration’s decision of shifting the visitor’s waiting area without taking any security measures is akin to it openly inviting evil forces to take advantage of the situation, the forces which didn’t even spare children.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2015.
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