Cricket fever is at its peak as the second leg of the Pakistan Super League is starting. And the people of Karachi are more than excited.
If you drive around the city, you will see people stopping their vehicles to take selfies and make videos of the PSL decorations and life-sized cutouts of players.
Due to ‘logistical’ reasons, the PCB even moved the matches that were scheduled to be held in Lahore to Karachi.
The first match is at 7pm on Saturday. Karachiites’ excitement is understandable, given the limited number of public events they have in the city.
I don’t want to be sound like a party pooper but I don’t want events like the PSL to be held in Karachi.
Karachi is a city of around 20 million and it’s nothing short of a miracle that the city is still functioning without a mass transit system. The traffic situation in the city is already really bad due to the construction of the Green Line BRT project and closure of MA Jinnah Road from near Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum all the way to Capri Cinema.
In such a situation, holding PSL matches is not the greatest idea, especially when the stadium where matches will be played is located in the middle of the city.
It is not that I don’t like cricket or don’t watch the PSL. In fact, this Sunday I’ll be rooting for the Quetta Gladiators and hope that they are crowned champions this time.
What I don’t like is being stuck in traffic for hours every day for the next week or so.
As a part of the security plan, over 13,000 policemen are on duty for the security of the match and the subsequent seven matches that will be held in the port city. The Rangers are handling security within the National Stadium. The government has plan to lock down the entire area and adjoining roads.
Karsaz Road leading to the National Stadium will be closed. Similarly, Dalmia Road leading to the National Stadium and the bridge and road from Hassan Square to the National Stadium will be closed for traffic.
During the match, University Road from Nipa to Jail Chowrangi will remain closed for the general public. Karachi police chief Dr Amir Shaikh said traffic will be diverted away from the stadium three hours before the matches start.
This will create a huge mess as every day commuters will be stuck in traffic for hours, especially office goers since most of matches are starting at 7pm. This means the roads will be closed starting at 4pm. Most people return home from work between 4pm and 7pm.
This is similar to what happened during the IDEAs Exhibition last November.
Ideally, the sports stadium and expo centre should be moved out of the city to minimise the disturbance caused to citizens. Till then, these matches and exhibitions should not be held as I believe that no one in their right mind would be interested spending hours stuck in traffic so that a few people can watch a match.