Stories about traffic

The Prado effect

Adam’s story I backed out of the driveway, closely monitoring the environment around me. This was the first time I was driving such a large vehicle and it was safe to assume that there was a very steep learning curve with regards to keeping the jeep on the road. “I need to pick up something for Natasha.” Amir squeaked from the backseat. There were around five people sitting atop each other. I nodded, glancing towards the road ahead before putting the jeep in gear. A slight tap on the accelerator and the monstrous engine roared to life, launching the vehicle onto the road. Sitting behind ...

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Travelling on a Pakistani public bus is never boring!

I am sure many of you have travelled on public buses in Pakistan or know someone who has gone through the ordeal. In case you haven’t, allow me to enlighten you of what the rest of us have to go through. Here are ten of my experiences while travelling on public transport and the issues many of us have to face on a daily basis. 1. Bus stop? What’s that? Drivers of public buses in Pakistan never bother to wait for their passengers at the bus stops so there is hardly any point in waiting there. And it goes without saying that if you ...

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Umar Akmal: When the going gets tough, the tough… run to ‘daddy’?

I still remember how as a young child I said something rude to a cousin of mine, a typical childish remark like, “I don’t want to play with you, you always whine” or, “You don’t have any nice toys” or something like that. When my parents found out, I was not only berated for my rudeness, I was even made to apologise to my cousin with a promise that I would never again be intentionally mean to anyone. This incident not only helped me being careful of what I say or do for years to come but also made me realise that accountability ...

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Umar Akmal: A great player but a bitter citizen?

Umar Akmal became the subject of much debate because of his recent run-in with the police. He violated traffic rules by going through a red light and when stopped by the police, he tried to bully the traffic warden by flaunting his stature of being an international sportsman. Yes, he is a talented player but in this one incident, he proved himself to be a careless and nasty citizen. As a result of his actions, Akmal has been booked under Sections 186, 279 and 353 of the Pakistan Penal Code. According to police reports, the 23-year-old Akmal did not stop at a traffic signal in ...

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10 ‘argh’ moments with a Pakistani tailor

You’re a Pakistani and you’ve never made a trip to the tailor? I find that hard to believe. Whether it’s a job interview or a high school farewell party, tailors are the ones who can make every little occasion of a typical Pakistani woman’s life either completely miserable or an absolute fairytale. You stand in front of a full-length mirror and study your newly stitched dress like a hawk. You look at the loose side fittings and feel aghast. The long, loosely dangling sleeves feel out of place. You swear to yourself that the deep neck you see in your reflection ...

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Building ‘Traffic Pakistan’ and the problem with start-ups

Around three years ago M. Ali, a close friend of mine, built a very neat road traffic reporting system. This was a low tech version (dealing with real time traffic and incident reporting) over text messages and tweets. This was before we knew that something like Waze (later developed via Google) existed. Since Pakistan was gradually becoming a country with a majority of its population having access to cell phones and the internet, this idea made sense. Being pragmatists, we decided to name the scheme ‘Traffic Pakistan’. The idea was quite simple. Pakistani roads are horrible and often get congested. ...

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CNG woes: Can’t you see how miserable you are making us?

When I heard that CNG prices would be reduced, I was ecstatic. I, along with people all over Pakistan, celebrated this development. This reduction was intended to bring respite to the people in an environment of growing expenses and high inflation; it is no secret that here in Pakistan, even buying bare necessities have become difficult for the common man. Following this price cut, I enthusiastically took a picture from my phone of the new prices stated on the CNG pumps. It all seemed like a dream come true. Now, it is no less than a nightmare, not just to me, ...

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Infrastructural speed breakers in Punjab

Residents of Rawalpindi have continuously been facing traffic problems primarily due to deteriorating state of roads in urban areas. Massive traffic jams occur at peak hours on Benazir Bhutto Road, Mall Road and Saidpur Road. The government finds little sense in constructing flyovers on different intersections of Benazir Bhutto Road. This is in spite of the fact that the smooth flow of traffic at the main artery of the city is severely hampered. The long-term and feasible solution to traffic in the garrison city lies in adding new roads to the existing infrastructure rather than solely focusing on Benazir Bhutto Road. ...

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9 reasons why I hate being a motorist in Pakistan

Here’s a hate-list I was compelled to make as a motorist in Pakistan: 1. Driving in the rain: In some nations, driving in the rain is a serene and beautiful experience, which is likely to fill you with relaxation as you appreciate your surroundings, and take in the earthy scent of rainfall. In Pakistan, if it rains for more than fifteen minutes, everyone and their mothers scramble for home in a mad rush, as they try to escape the lakes that begin to form over their streets. To make matters worse, since the down-sloping side of any road in Pakistan gathers ...

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Is Rumi’s Islam different from Pakistan’s Islam?

While stranded in a traffic jam under the hot, blazing sun of May, I looked at a traffic warden from my car window. His sun-bleached uniform was drenched with sweat and he was gesticulating like an actor in a mime. The loud, blaring car horns and impatient shouts of drivers and pedestrians tweaked my weak nerves and I pressed my throbbing temples to soothe them. The whole rumpus had been caused by green-turbaned clerics, some of whom were young boys and teenagers with budding moustaches. Speaking from their loudspeakers, mounted on minivans, they passionately denounced social networking sites for uploading blasphemous ...

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