Stories about traffic

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 ...

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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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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On the bright side of a downpour

“It shouldn’t rain in Karachi,” says my driver defeatedly, after four hours of standing on the Baloch Bridge. We are riddled with doubts: should we have taken the Gora Qabristan route? Should we turn onto Shahra-e-Faisal instead of going straight onto Shaheed-e-Millat? The fact is, whichever way we turn, we were stuck. I roll down the window of my steaming Mehran – thankfully, I have a book – and read, first in the fading light of dusk and then in the beam of headlights from stationary cars, while the drizzle lightly soaks me. By the time I’m halfway through – my book, ...

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The five things Pakistanis need to stop complaining about and embrace

Growing up in Karachi, I was just another average teenager. I went to school in the morning, I would play cricket in the afternoon, play some more cricket in the evening, and then round the day off with a good book. Ok, well, maybe the last part doesn’t fit in there, but you get the point. Like any other teenager, I would pride myself on my ability to talk and talk some more on pretty much any given topic. While I was more than eager to adorn my house with the Pakistani flag come August 14th, I was equally ...

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Capital encroachment: Laws, promises and a delicious piece of pie

“Silence is a source of great strength” - Lao Tzu As an optimist will confirm, waking up is supposed to be the best part of the day. It doesn’t matter what time you wake up, or what sleep cycle your body follows, waking up full of energy is part of the charm of facing a new day and the new challenges that come with it. So why this weak feeling? Maybe it’s the school up your street. Maybe it’s the office next door. Maybe it’s the VVVVVIP next door (they love their V’s don’t they?), or maybe even ...

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Functional cities need mass transit

Much has been said and written about lack of predictable and efficient public transport system in Pakistan’s major cities – to no avail. Former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal, who built a swirling network of flyovers and signal-free corridors during his four-year tenure, was smarter than that to realise, and voice, that adding more roads was only a short-term solution. True unclogging of our major cities’ blocked arteries would happen when you remove a significant number of vehicles from the road, which is only possible when you provide commuters with a viable public transport option. But the argument for a mass ...

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“Die, killer, die”

In the busy traffic of Lahore on June 2, 2011, a traffic warden stopped a car carrying a patient, for reasons unknown. The family was  frustrated by more than the hot weather, smoke and the sound of horns. They wanted to rush to the hospital. The patient was in need of critical medical attention. However, the warden was in no hurry. According to TV reports, he couldn’t come up with a credible reason for stopping the car, yet he demanded cash in exchange for letting the family go. Despite being bribed, the incident carried on so long that the patient in ...

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