rawalpindi - Commuters and motorists on Saturday faced unprecedented traffic clogs due to road closures in the wake of the preparations for the Independence Day and encroachments along the roads.

Long queues of vehicles were reported on Saddar, Bank Road, Kashmir Road, Haider Road, Fawara Chowk, Raja Bazaar, Jinnah Road, Committee Chowk, Iqbal Road, Mareer Chowk, Tipu Road, Airport Road, Sadiqabad, Kuri Road, Naz Cinema, Katcheri, Adiala Road, Bakra Mandi, Dhamial Hayyal Road, Dhoke Syedan and other localities. Streets and small roads in the city were also choked with traffic after the major city roads came to a standstill.

Ambulances carrying patients to District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and Holy Family Hospital (HFH) were also stuck in jam-packed traffic.

The wardens of City Traffic Police (CTP) were found absent from duty at various squares and roads that made the situation worse and causing immense troubles even for the pedestrians.

“What do we do when we are stuck in the worst traffic jam and find no space to walk to reach our destination,” said Zulfiqar Ahmed, a pedestrian, while talking to The Nation. He said the encroachments, narrow roads and the absence of traffic wardens from duty points led to heavy traffic snarl in the city. He said the high ups of traffic police should pay surprise visits to the city to detect the activities of the traffic wardens.

The vendors, shopkeepers, traders and market owners have spread their businesses till the roads that is the main the reason for traffic jam, said Ahmed Nawaz, a citizen. He said the government and the traffic police should erase the encroachments for a smooth flow of traffic.

Zaheer Khan, a teacher in a private school, said he was going to enquire about the health of his ailing sister admitted in Holy Family Hospital but could not move even an inch for last 30 minutes due to traffic block. “The government should plan well for the easy mobility of the people rather than leaving them marooned on the roads all the day,” he said.

An ambulance driver said that he has been trying to reach DHQ but could not find space to drive to the hospital due to gigantic traffic jam.

Several other motorists and citizens, who suffered the traffic jam, have appealed to the government and the Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) to revisit its traffic plan to avoid traffic mess.

 CTO Muhammad Bin Ashraf, when approached for his version, said there is no traffic jam anywhere in the city. He, however, admitted that the traffic has been moving slowly due to public rush in bazaars and markets for shopping to celebrate Pakistan Independence Day and Eid-ul-Azha. He said traffic police are making its all out efforts to facilitate the citizens by smoothing traffic flow.

He said he would pay surprise visits to check duties of wardens and would punish those who found absent from duty points.