LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has barred authorities from blocking roads during cricket matches.
“Who told you to block roads during matches?” Justice Shahid Karim asked during a hearing Friday. “For the transportation of teams, you should adopt a single free route so that the rest of the traffic doesn’t get disturbed.”
Lahore CTO told the court that the instructions, to block roads, were issued by the Home Department. “No police policymaking involved in the decision,” he said.
Justice Karim argued that the provision of basic rights to the people was the government’s responsibility.
“In the last three years, we have worked extremely hard to control air pollution in Lahore,” he remarked. “But in the last few days, smog in the city has increased again.”
The judge pointed out that he himself was stuck in traffic for the past two days. “When roads are closed, patients are stuck in traffic for hours. What if they die before reaching the hospital? Who will be responsible?”
Every year, more than seven million people across the world die from smog and air pollution. We can’t do this with our climate or people, he added.
Lahore’s SP security advised that during international events, the Home Department should be given the responsibility for the traffic and security plan.
“If the Pakistan Cricket Board is hosting international events, they should accommodate the teams near the stadiums,” the judge advised, adding that closing or blocking roads is not a solution.
Consequently, the court summoned the home secretary and adjourned the hearing till Monday.
Every time an international event is scheduled in Pakistan, the first step taken by authorities is to block roads and traffic. Last month, when the New Zealand cricket team arrived in Rawalpindi, the Cricket Stadium Road was closed for all the matches.
Murree Road from Faizabad to Double Road was completely closed at the time of the cricket teams’ arrival at the cricket stadium and during their departure. People were told to use alternative routes to avoid inconvenience.