ISLAMABAD: The closure of Faizabad Interchange, the main junction between Rawalpindi and Islamabad, in connection with May Day rallies had a severe impact on daily life in both cities.
Scores of daily wagers were unable to find work as business and commercial centers in and around Faizabad remained closed, while residents faced mobility problems due to traffic disruptions.
The city traffic police had received reports about possible rallies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and other labor organizations entering Islamabad via Faizabad, which could have caused law and order issues.
To prevent this, the police placed containers at the interchange, resulting in long traffic queues on major thoroughfares such as Murree Road, Rawal Road, Airport Road, IJP Road, Srinagar Highway, Islamabad Expressway, Stadium Road, Syedpur Road, Chongi No 26, and Motorway Chowk.
The closure of Faizabad Interchange also affected public transport, with the metro bus service becoming the only means of direct travel between the twin cities.
Many commuters, including laborers like Muhammad Khan, who earn a livelihood by working at Faizabad, were unable to reach their workplaces, causing them to lose a day’s earnings. Similarly, Sumaira Anjum, a woman who works in a private travel agency, faced difficulties in reaching her office and had to change three vehicles.
Some criticized the authorities for closing the main junction instead of making alternative arrangements to deal with the situation. However, the closure did prevent any rallies from entering Islamabad from Rawalpindi, and after the rallies ended, the Faizabad Interchange was opened for public transport.