LAHORE  -  Blockade of roads in the city on former PM Nawaz Sharif’s arrival on Friday made people suffer heavily.

Supporters of the ousted prime minister were led by Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz's younger brother and head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Metro Bus Service and other public transport on different city routes remained suspended throughout the day, causing immense problems for the public.

Major roads, including Canal Road, The Mall, Jail Road, Ferozpur Road, Raiwind Road and Multan Road were presenting a deserted look. Rickshaws, motorcycle rickshaws and cabs provided some relief to people in the morning, but vanished in the evening.

Routes were closed to bar supporters of PML-N from heading to the airport to welcome ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

Transport authorities said the Metro Bus Service from Shahdrah to Gajjumata was suspended due to security reasons. The daily ridership between the two destinations (27KM) is around 150,000.

Blockade also made people going to the airport suffer. Vehicles carrying air travellers were not allowed to cross the barriers placed around the airport. Passengers and their relatives were forced to reach the airport by foot along with their baggage, although the Civil Aviation Authority had announced on Thursday that it would run a shuttle service.

Passengers were dragging their luggage from there to the airport on foot. Similarly, passengers boarding their cars and coming from Cantt and Hajj terminal were stopped near Askari X entrance and were asked to go on foot.

Ring Road was blocked at Burki Road Interchange by placing containers and long vehicles. A man, who wanted to go to Karachi by PIA flight Pk-305 at 6:00pm, said he was allowed to go by foot after parking his car somewhere else. He said a policeman told him that he (the policeman) was oblivious of the shuttle service schedule.

Police also detained scores of supporters of Nawaz Sharif, his party said, claiming it was an attempt to prevent them from staging a welcome-home rally.

Last July, the Supreme Court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the third-time PM over corruption. Acting upon the Supreme Court orders, references were filed against Nawaz in an accountability court, which sentenced Nawaz to 10 years in jail over purchase of luxury apartments in London, on July 6 this year. Maryam was sentenced to seven years in jail in a case stemming from documents leaked by a Panama law firm.



Iftikhar Alam/Amraiz Khan