Stories about traffic

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. ...

Read Full Post

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, ...

Read Full Post

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. ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Cleanse Karachi of unregistered motorcycles!

In a third world country like Pakistan, where successive governments have failed to provide a reliable transport system, motorcycles tend to be the lifeline for masses. Take the example of Karachi, which accommodates more than half a million motorcyclists every day. While the number of motorcycles has increased in recent years at a phenomenal pace, the government and traffic regulators have made no efforts to bring discipline in this realm. The Excise and Taxation Department of Sindh has finally started issuing official registration plates for motorcycles purchased as of July – an initiative one must appreciate as it could provide traffic ...

Read Full Post

VIP protocol: Thanks for the extra sleep!

Over the last few years, Pakistanis have become accustomed to measures that are routinely taken to ensure security for VIPs of the land. Of these measures, blocking roads to ensure safe and free flow of traffic for our VIPs while the general public is stuck in huge traffic jams for hours has now become an accepted part of our culture. This indignity, inflicted on us in the name of providing foolproof security to senior political and military figures, has no roots in Pakistan’s original culture. It has been imposed on the citizenry, much like inflation, corruption, unemployment and poverty. However, ...

Read Full Post

Lahore from Karachi eyes

After spending seven great days in Lahore, I am convinced that Lahore, being the cultural hub of the country, is one of the most beautiful cities of Pakistan. I applaud the chief minister of Punjab, who despite having a barrage of flaws in his governance, especially with regards to health, education and law and order sectors, has successfully been able to maintain the beauty of this city. Unlike any other provincial government, the government of Punjab makes a conscious effort to give beautification the priority that it deserves by strictly adhering to a no-graffiti policy; hence we are greeted with beautiful and clean walls as seen in ...

Read Full Post

Protocol phobia in Punjab

During present week the Punjab government remains occupied to provide red carpet reception and protocol to visiting Turkish guests and Lahorites had to face unprecedented traffic congestion, lack of civic facilities and travel hindrance. Although Istanbul Mayor Dr. Kadir Topbas was a distinguished guest in the city, the inconvenience faced by city folks because of the elaborate protocol accorded to him was above tolerance level. Topbas was offered a VVIP protocol with signal-free movement, high security apparatus and lavish banquets. The protocol was against the stipulation of the blue book, a document which decides the level of protocol to be ...

Read Full Post

13 tips to avoid being robbed in traffic jams

The crime rate in our cities has steadily increased and after the rains, criminals have found yet another way to rob people. Thanks to the ineptitude of the police, thieves have found easy targets in motorists caught in traffic jams while they are stuck on the road due to knee deep water. On September 6 it rained heavily in Karachi and numerous people were robbed while they were stuck in traffic jams, trying to return home from work. The situation swiftly got more dangerous when the street lights went off. Criminals have an in-depth understanding of the locations in cities where motorists will be at ...

Read Full Post