Karachi: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and former president Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) M Zubair Motiwala has expressed sheer dissatisfaction over the arrangements made to secure the National Stadium during Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6. He stated that the return of cricket to the metropolis has become the biggest source of nuisance for Karachiites nowadays, as more than half of the city’s population suffers terribly for many hours because of poor traffic management plans, in which some of the most critical arteries are blocked. This is neither acceptable to Karachiites nor to the business community, he said, hence the strategy must be revisited straightaway.

In a statement issued, Zubair Motiwala pointed out that due to the complete blockade of roads around the National Stadium, traffic is usually diverted to other roads. This causes severe traffic jams at the roads throughout the day. Meanwhile, the residents of the affected areas, which are densely populated, have to make efforts from pillar to post each day to reach their destinations.

“Moreover, two of the biggest hospitals of Karachi are also situated on a road leading to the National Stadium Road, which is also closed during the PSL,” he pointed out. “We have been receiving a huge number of complaints from patients and their relatives who are either visiting Agha Khan Hospital or Liaquat National Hospital or National Institute of Blood Diseases (NIBD), which is right next to National Stadium. It has been witnessed that many ambulances rushing towards these hospitals remain stuck up in traffic jams on a daily basis, which enhances the chances of more casualties. Hence, the city’s administration will have to shred the existing traffic management plan and come up with some other viable strategy in which the main roads should not be blocked at any cost.”

“The Business and Industrial community demands from the city’s administration, particularly Commissioner Karachi Naved Ahmed Shaikh and DIG Traffic Iqbal Dara to look into this serious issue and take steps to reduce the hardships for Karachiites by immediately revisiting the existing traffic management plan,” Motiwala said, adding that cricket, which is a source of entertainment, should not become a source of torture for citizens who already suffer on the streets of Karachi due to the dilapidated state of the city’s infrastructure.

Zubair Motiwala pointed out that even the business activities suffer immensely during PSL days, as the citizens of Karachi, after undergoing the worst traffic conditions, prefer to somehow reach their homes only. He added that they even refrain from visiting commercial markets for buying purposes, which brings down commercial activities and causes immense losses to shopkeepers.

“Although it is a bit difficult to give the exact number for the losses suffered by the business community, it could go up to billions of rupees due to the diverse range of businesses and a large number of markets, including the well-known Bahadurabad, Tariq Road, and Millennium Mall etc. where business activities get terribly affected due to road blocks,” he said. He further questioned who would come to visit these places, or other nearby markets in North Karachi or Gulistan e Johar, for shopping when they know it will be an uphill task to travel there due to road blocks and subsequent traffic jams.

“Every year, KCCI receives dozens of complaints, mainly from shopkeepers who complain about limited business activities due to PSL, and the same has started again this year. Hence, being the premier and largest Chamber of the country, KCCI will not remain silent, and raise a strong voice at all available platforms until relief is provided to the perturbed citizens of Karachi,” Zubair Motiwala said.

The BMG Chairman demanded that instead of closing down the main Stadium Road, police vehicles should be parked to guard the stadium. He suggested that the number of policemen and Rangers’ troops must also be enhanced, with each law-enforcer deployed at a distance of at least 20 feet away from the other at all the roads surrounding the stadium. He said that such a strategy would not only secure the stadium by creating a stronghold for preventing any unpleasant incident, but would also minimize the hardships for commuters during PSL.

The author is a senior business reporter with bylines in leading newspapers and magazines across Pakistan.

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