Hundreds of commuters are faced with difficulty in boarding the Metro Bus at the Youhanabad station. The bus never stops here. The situation is the same for the past two months.
The Metro Bus service, a government backed public transport plying on an exclusive route, does not stop at the Youhanabad point, ever since a violent mob of Christians took aggressively to the streets in reaction to the twin suicide bomb blasts that destroyed parts of the area early this year.
The two blasts resulted in more than 20 deaths, forcing members of what remains one of the largest Christian localities in the country, to come out in the streets.
The protestors, demanding justice, broke the Metro Bus station and other public properties nearby. This led to a temporary closure of the station which, till date, has not been opened.
The Metro administration says the station is closed for repair and re-installation of machinery. But most commuters believe the government is deliberately delaying the renovation work. “It wants to teach a ‘lesson’ to the violent protestors,” comments Pervez Masih, a low-income government employee who used to commute on Metro Bus to go to his office.
The Youhanabad Metro Bus station on Ferozpur Rd wears a deserted look and there is no sign of repair work. A report, submitted to the officials, reads that as many as eight buses were destroyed, in addition to the Metro station, by the enraged mob.
Hundreds of poor people used to benefit from this station but now they are not able to do so. “Even if the delay is not intentional, it shows the sheer inefficiency of the government,” says Basharat Masih.
According to Ozair Shah, General Manager (Operations), Metro Bus Service, the government did not release funds for the repair and reconstruction of the station until recently. “About Rs50 million has been approved for the purpose. The station should be operational very soon.”
Just how soon? “Within eight to 10 days,” he declares.
Shah also says the total loss incurred was more than Rs20 million, and all machines including the ticketing ones, were destroyed. “This was the second time the people of the Christian community had resorted to this kind of violence at the station built at the mouth of Youhanabad.”
Shah reveals that once the station reopens, it shall be run manually, “There would be no e-ticketing machine because that would need to be imported from Turkey, and it may take long.”