Despite fair warning from the authorities, the day fared poorly for commuters on the thoroughfares of Dhaka on Thursday as 200,000 visitors descended on Shahbagh for a grand Islamic conference.
Traffic remained closed on two roads and 25 locations for several hours as part of heightened security measures during the Islamic Foundation Conference.
City dwellers, office goers and students found most of the streets empty as no vehicles were permitted to operate on the roads connecting Shahbagh to Matsyabhaban and Doel Chattar after 10:30am.
The routes that usually remain clogged by vehicles were empty as no buses were launched from Mirpur, Mohakhali and Saidabad area.
On Wednesday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) issued a traffic advisory ahead of the conference.
“Vehicles will not be allowed to move through 25 points in Dhaka city from 12pm to evening for the grand rally of the 42nd anniversary of Bangladesh Islamic Foundation,” DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah said.
The Dhaka Tribune found few commuter buses operating in the city following the DMP instruction while pedestrians took off on foot to go their destinations.
Iqbal Azad, an office worker who lives in Karwan Bazar, said he walked to his office in Shukrabad.
With Farmgate blocked, severe traffic congestion was created on Mirpur Road as all Gulistan traffic diverted to the narrow Azimpur route. Traffic jam was also found in Paltan, Moghbazar, Jatrabari and Panthapath.