As is the case, a large number of people living in the twin cities leave for their hometowns before Eid.

This exodus usually starts four to five days before Eid. Bus and train stations are flooded with people eager to head towards their homes. This mass departure increases as Eid comes closer.

It is estimated that thousands leave the twin cities before Eid for their hometowns to join their families and friends. As a result, the federal capital experiences a temporary decrease in population and a considerably diminished number of vehicles on road.

Nearly 50 per cent of the people leaving the city comprise people who work in government sector or are labourers.

It is peak business period for those associated with clothing and garment retail. They usually have no choice but to stay until Eid days are over before they could take a holiday. This practice of people heading homes is not confined to the twin cities; people from urban centres from across Pakistan leave for their hometowns in rural areas to celebrate Eid.

This exodus is expected to end on the night before Eid (Chaand Raat). People are expected to be charged high fare by the transporters during these days. The roads are comparatively calmer on the last two days before Eid. Great rush is witnessed at bus terminals and train stations.

People with their families and luggage were seen at Faizabad, Pirwadhai and G-9 Markaz. Passengers could be seen standing at night waiting for buses.

“The transporters charge almost double fare on Eid,” a government worker willing to return to his hometown said. He also criticised the transport authorities for staying silent on this matter.

A student from CUST, Ali Raja, waiting to return to his hometown, Gujrat, said, “The buses become so overcrowded that we have to stand inside.”

“Tickets are sold even after the seats being full,” he further said.

Another student from Quaid-i-Azam University, Hussein Ali of Gujranwala, when asked “why he preferred bus over train,” he replied “trains are mostly not punctual.”

When fare for Ali’s current ticket to Gujranwala was asked he replied, “I bought this ticket for Rs450. Last year when I went to Gujranwala it was only Rs300.”

When ticket seller Asif Ali who works for a transport agency was asked about overcharging, he argued “we charge more as most of the buses have to return without passengers to Islamabad.”

To assist this matter, Pakistan Railways has announced special trains for people heading out of the city. As claimed by Pakistan Railways, people would find these special trains very beneficial as its fares are reasonable.

-The writer Waleed Arshad is a student at Roots International School System