KARACHI - Heavy traffic plying on Karachi roads, particularly during the daytime, has become a routine now, which exposes the Karachiites to several risks, The Nation learnt here on Thursday. The people running the commercial hub of the country have been unable to resolve the traffic issues, particularly during the rush hours.

It’s no secret that the port city has been neglected during the past 10 years as evident by the fact that no major improvement has been made in its transport and road infrastructure despite the fact that the number of vehicles kept increasing during this period. Furthermore, movement of the heavy traffic even during the day also multiplies the problems.

Police high-ups suspect that the use of heavy vehicles for terrorist activities cannot be ruled out as militants have had used dumpers in the past to carry out such activities. Sources in police say that it is difficult to check heavy vehicles roaming on the roads. “Therefore it is essential to ban the movement of such vehicles during day time,” they suggested.

Traffic jams are also the cause of anxiety for police high-ups because they suspect that the terrorists may be looking for a crowded place to carry out their activities.

Police fear that since large number of people are gathered at the same place during the rush hours, terrorists may take advantage of that to inflict maximum damage.

Commenting on the current traffic situation in Karachi, Traffic DIG Asif Ejaz Sheikh told The Nation that during a meeting with Karachi commissioner it had been decided to ban the movement of all sorts of vehicles carrying goods during the day.

He said that police had designated some routes especially meant for the movement of heavy vehicles towards the ports.

In reply to a question, he said that transporters had been directed to use the route of northern bypass.

Sheikh said that transporters usually avoided plying their vehicles on Northern Bypass because of the higher risk of robberies, and keeping in view this factor, police had assured security to the transporters after consultations with DIG West.

To a question about the traffic police being understaffed, the DIG said that although it was difficult to cope with the challenges in view of this handicap, but the department was trying its best to provide better services to the citizens.

“Currently, total strength of traffic police is around 4200 and 3500 wardens are performing their duties in two shifts,” he said, and added, “Traffic police is also trying to improve the strength of wardens as 250 cops, currently being trained, will join the force within two months while 800 more cops will be ready to join the force within eight months.”

Although the Karachi Traffic Police had drawn up a new traffic plan to cope with the increasing traffic burden, according to which the movement of heavy vehicles inside the city was to remain banned from 6am till 11pm, the plan still remains unimplemented as heavy vehicles ply on city roads fearlessly during day hours, thus adding to the plight of the citizens.

It is pertinent to mention here that despite the fact that it is in the knowledge of the Sindh government that the traffic police are understaffed, it has still to take measures to remedy the situation.



Faraz Israr