There is no restriction in the movement of ambulances or other vehicles providing essential or emergency services like rescue or firefighting throughout Karachi during the matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) cricket tournament being played at the National Stadium, the city police chief told the Sindh High Court (SHC) in a categorical statement on Tuesday.
Aziz Fatima, media coordinator of the Pasban Democratic Party, had earlier said in her contempt-of-court application that despite the undertaking before the court that the road from the Central Jail Karachi to Nipa and Sir Shah Muhammad Suleman Road from New Town to Dalmia (Aga Khan University Hospital Road) will not be blocked during PSL matches, they had been blocked again by the alleged contemnors with containers and other obstructions.
Filing comments before an SHC division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, the Karachi Range additional inspector general of police and the District East deputy inspector general of police said that all the roads are open and they have also removed the containers from the roads.
The city police chief and other officers said that the traffic police had issued a public notice, whereby only one track of the road leading from the Hasan Square Flyover to the National Stadium had been closed for traffic during PSL matches.
They said that the road was blocked with police mobiles, which could be removed in case of an emergency. They also said that 3,616 police officials were deployed for PSL security in the East zone. They added that the roads leading towards the Aga Khan University Hospital and the Liaquat National Hospital were open for traffic.
Regarding the SHC’s direction to submit a report on what efforts were being made to curb mobile snatching and other crimes during traffic jams caused by blocked roads and traffic diversions during PSL matches, the police chief submitted the progress report, which stated that Bilal, Abdul Baqi and Abid had been arrested for a mobile snatching incident that left Osama Saeed dead, while Zubair was at large. The officer said that an identification parade would be conducted within two days.
The court said that the Sindh police chief had been directed to convey clear directions to all the station house officers (SHOs) that in case traffic was blocked or diverted through their territorial limits, they should ensure the deployment of an adequate number of officials on blocked roads to curb robberies and other untoward incidents.
The city police chief said that the direction of the court had been conveyed to all the SHOs through wireless communication to ensure strict vigilance and security. He undertook that letters would also be issued by the provincial police chief to convey the directions to all the SHOs in Sindh. Taking the statements on record, the court disposed of the contempt-of-court application.
On February 23 the SHC had issued notices to the home department’s focal person and the traffic police SP on the contempt application filed against them for violating the undertaking before court with regard to not blocking roads around the National Stadium during
the PSL cricket tournament matches.
The applicant said that police officials on duty on these roads had also been restraining the movement of vehicles and people, which was a breach of the undertaking given by the alleged contemnors because the undertaking had been made a part of the order of the court. She sought action against the alleged contemnors for violating the undertaking
before the court.
She said that due to the blocking of the roads, various incidents of mobile snatching and mugging have been occurring, while no security officials have been deployed to help the public at large.
The AIGP (legal) said that they used to deploy police officials for the security and safety of the public at large, adding that they will submit reports after collecting information.
On February 17 the home department and traffic police officials had assured the SHC that University Road and Sir Shah Muhammad Suleman Road would not be blocked during the PSL cricket tournament matches at the National Stadium.
The assurance came on a petition that was filed against the closure of roads leading to the National Stadium during the Pakistan-South Africa Test series and the PSL matches, which had yet to start at that time.
The home department official, however, said that the law enforcement agencies and the traffic police were making some security arrangements during the arrival and departure of
the PSL teams for a limited period of time.