Breakdown of traffic management in Malakand Division
26 May, 2017
I wish to narrate my first hand harrowing experience and personal observations of journey by car from Chitral to Islamabad on 26 May.
I hired a Toyota taxi for Rs16000 for the journey as I had an urgent errand and could not wait for the flight or sit in a public transport which is a torture in itself. After traversing the dirt track called road from Ziarat to Dir I heaved a sigh of relief that now travelling would be smooth ahead, but not quite so happened. The moment I entered Dir Bypass road there was a traffic jam but it took about half an hour to clear so I ignored it. However every small city in the district of Dir especially Warhi bazar, Rabat Bazar and Khal bazar were presenting chaotic traffic jams. At Timergera and faced a major traffic jam there which took about 40 minutes to clear with hardly any traffic controllers around.
When we reached short of Batkhela, found endless line of vehicles waiting there. On enquiring was told that there is a traffic jam upto Malakand and it would take several hours before it opens up. Many vehicles were taking U turns and going back or taking side roads in the hills instead of waiting. As we had no option but to move forward so we kept waiting and it was only after four and half hours that we could clear the Batkhela Bazar.
During all this time we did not see any traffic police. Only once did a couple of policemen appear from somewhere and we were excited that after all the government has taken control but our joy was short lived when a VIP vehicle with escorts passed us and the traffic fellows who were pushing the vehicles aside to make way for the VIP vanished immediately along with the VIP vehicle. In Batkhela bazar there were some people with red and orage jackets (probably civil defense or some NGO) trying to control the traffic but no traffic police was seen. The taxi driver told me that same is the scene in Swat and elsewhere in the division. He also quoted the reason for this grand schmozzle as uncontrolled influx of Non custom paid vehicles which have swarmed the roads and absence of discipline and order in the society where every body is trying to overtake every body else from every wrong side, has made the situation uncontrollable.
A serious consideration/planning should be undertaken to control traffic in Malakand division before it worsens further .. Fardad Ali Shah, 27 May 2017