Out of the frying pan

youtube logolI live near the Lahore Airport, and in the last 5-6 years, I NEVER lost any time due to deliberate traffic blocks on the Sarfaraz Raffiqui Road (the entrance to my neighborhood). Yes, there used to be blocks and “naakas” for checking, and there were blocks due to diverted traffic, but there were no “OMG-MR-XYZ-IS-COMING-BLOCK-ALL-ROADS-LOOK-SHARP-STOP-THE-TRAFFIC-SIGNALS” kind of blocks during “the dictatorship”, (at least in Lahore) – until last week that is… my first night out in a democratic Pakistan.

I was coming back home with my family from Defence at night, and was almost at the end of a long and tiresome drive, when I saw a policeman starting to put up a barricade in the middle of the road a few meters ahead of me. The car in front of me tried to avoid and pass him as the barricade was still not set up, but the policeman got in front of the car, stopped it and told the driver (who was with his wife and kids as well) very rudely to reverse and get back behind the barricade, and this is how I ended up being in the 2nd car in what grew up to be about a 50 car long roadblock on each side. We waited for at least 20 minutes (mentally cursing, there were kids in the car), and eventually, a motorcade with a couple of police bikes followed by 4 or 5 black-windowed cars, a fire-engine (?!) and a trailing set of bikes passed the old airport road. Just as we were getting ready to move, the policemen stopped everyone, apparently there was going to be a repeat performance. Another 5 minutes of waiting, another (smaller) motorcade, and we were finally ready to leave. Luckily, as I was in the front of the block and was able to drive away quickly, but I could see that the misaligned traffic got into another mini-jam behind me as everyone tried to overtake everyone else.

I don’t know who (or what) was in that car, but it cost more than 200 people 25 minutes of their lives each to save 5 minutes of that someone ‘important’. Can I have the dictatorship back please? This is not the kind of democracy I voted for. Hold on… I didn’t vote… Nevermind.

My son demands 5-10 minutes of youtube.com everyday when he wakes up – I’m expecting to have a hard time today as youtube is blocked in Pakistan… so while I am bitterly whining, congratulations to the new government on blocking youtube.com in Pakistan. I’m sure all the 2000 or so Pakistani youtube.com watchers are devout muslims who pray five times a day and would have started a riot after watching whatever blasphemous videos that are being blocked this time. And of course, the rest of us are too lazy or too dumb to find open proxies to watch more important stuff, like election rigging videos, or to use the mobile youtube URL when it works. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next.

2 thoughts on “Out of the frying pan”

  1. FYI, I have had numerous road block in the last few years. Some as late as 2 AM in Cantt. Allah khair karay! 🙂

  2. Oh yes, I have NO objections against the naakas etc. for individual checking, I’ve been stopped, and shown my ID/told them where I was coming from and where I was going etc.
    What pisses me off is when ‘authorities’ stop the normal flow of life for HUNDREDS of people to accommodate one or two chosen ones – I mean, if they are so scared of the security situation, why can’t they rent out a helicopter or something instead of disrupting normal traffic just so that they can pass?

Comments are closed.