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CSOs decry denial of access to residential areas, road blockades around National Stadium

Karachi

January 23, 2021

Civil society, human rights, and trade union leaders have condemned the traffic mismanagement in Karachi and cordoning off the residential areas around the National Stadium in the name of security for a Test match to be played next week at the stadium.

In a joint statement issued here on Friday, Karamat Ali, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research; Habibuddin Junaidi of the People’s Labour Bureau; Nasir Mansoor, general secretary, National Trade Union Federation (NTUF); Farhat Perveen, executive director, NOW Communities; Liaquat Sahi from the Democratic Workers Union of the State Bank of Pakistan; Nazim F. Haji, former chief of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee; and Majyd Aziz, former president of the Employers Federation of Pakistan, demanded restricting security inside the stadium premises.

They pointed out that whenever a match or net practice by the national cricket team is held at the National Stadium, the residents of KDA Scheme, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Dalmia Road and Gulistan-e-Jauhar suffer heavily due to the resulting traffic jams on main roads and lanes as well as due to the logistic nightmare.

The periphery around the National Stadium is closed down with containers and the movement of people is restricted. The residents, thus, become prisoners of the security personnel, they said.

Two main hospitals -- Aga Khan and Liaquat National Hospital -- are also located in the affected areas and a large number of patients cannot reach hospitals. As a result, they and their relatives suffer, the statement said.

They said this heightened security on Friday caused a heavy traffic rush on University Road, which was choked with vehicles because the roads connected to it were sealed off in the name of security.

As the spectators would not be allowed inside the stadium anyway, why then such high security had been placed around the National Stadium, they asked. They urged the chief justice of the Sindh High Court to take suo moto notice of these “uncalled for security arrangements” for net practice by cricket players in the National Stadium and to order removal of the containers from all lanes and streets.