Silent road back to Lahore

I wasn’t near a city with a population in excess of 200,000 when tragedy struck and we all saw ‘Daughter of the East’ so brutally murdered in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. Still, I’m witness to the uncertain law and order situation, widespread across cities and even smaller towns of Punjab at that time.

December 29, 2007 was the night when we, as a family, decided to head back to Lahore from the Southern part of Punjab province where we all had spent the last couple of days in reunion fun and Eid happiness.

The plan was to leave after sunset for a seven hour journey that was to take us through several important settlements and cities including Multan, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Okara and finally to Thokar Niaz Beg at Lahore.

With news of total chaos and violence taking place in many parts of the country, especially in Sindh and Karachi, we were quite expecting live accounts of damaged infrastructure, burnt banks, ransacked offices and unlawful crowds roaming the streets and that obviously added to our fear of safety.

We started moving on the Grand Trunk Road – N5, country’s main logistics artery running from Karachi to Peshawar, 1,819 KM in one stretch, in the direction of our destination quite late in the evening.

Our vehicles proceeded without any extended stay except for a break of about two hours at a relative’s house in the middle way. The N5 gave quite a deserted look, the first time I saw it so clear, except obviously in Ramadan during the Iftaar (fast breaking) timing when almost every moving thing abandons roads for at least 15-30 minutes.

Silence and darkness was all that was to be seen throughout the journey which made me feel at that time, how attractive and significant was NHA’s motto of ‘Friendly Highways’.

Despite all fears and apprehensions, we, thankfully, did not encounter a single damaged thing and reached Lahore in the late hours of the night between 29th & 30th of December. And Lahore at that time was no different with now the usual scene of all gas and petrol stations cordoned and closed in fear of getting burnt or end gutted.

All we could relish was refueling our tanks at the Shell Station – Thokar Niaz Beg opposite Toyota Ravi Motors, which probably seemed to be the only operational station in this part of Lahore and that too under armed police guard.

God was to be thanked for making us feel relieved after getting home safely and securely for I have never traveled to my city in so much fear!

4 Comments so far

  1. Dr.Jamal (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 7:21 am

    Good to know that you arrived safely. Mobs have a mentality of thier own and sometimes thier actions are void of logic and consequence.

  2. Jus (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 7:34 am

    “And Lahore at that time was no different with now the usual scene of all gas and petrol stations cordoned and closed in fear of getting burnt or end gutted.”

    You mean they are still closed for business these petrol stations?

  3. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    Not exactly :)

    I was refering towards the ‘usual’ scenes of closed petrol stations in different towns and cities that I passed through; only for that particular night.

    Things started getting back to normal the very next day and here we are happy, merry dewellers of Lahore, the beloved city! ;)

  4. Opee (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

    Yep. Such things are hard to swallow. Time is the best healer, just as our fellow LMB guilder ‘|eemz’ stated. Life goes on, and must it should go!

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