Islamabad: Although the district administration and police of Islamabad has not yet blocked the entrance and exit points of the federal capital to deal with Freedom March participants, all steps are being taken to meet any situation.
The District administration through Ministry of Interior has formally requested the Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments to send riot police force — 2,000 elite force from Punjab and 1,200 from KP to meet emerging law and order situation by the political party Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Fazl has called for a march on Islamabad on October 31.
Another measure taken by the Islamabad police is to use shipping containers to block roads leading to Red Zone as a strategy to prevent JUI-F, PML-N and the PPP workers from entering the area.
The administration has taken into possession a number of containers that arrive to deliver goods at various shopping malls of Islamabad and the Islamabad Dry Port.
Azadi March picking up momentum
Meanwhile, after Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s rejection to meet the government’s committee for dialogue, the freedom march or the Azadi March as announced by Maulana on October 31 is picking up momentum and PML-N as well as PPP have called their core committee meetings later this week to finalise strategy to lend all our support to the JUI-F march.
Citizens watch suspension of normal life
Residents of Islamabad are watching all this development with deep concern as events are unfolding into yet another long and tiring period of inactivity and suspension of daily life. The bitter memories of the previous two sit-ins are still fresh in their minds.
It was in January 2013 when religious scholar and leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) had announced march on Islamabad against corrupt system demanding of the then government of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to resign.
As a result of that sit-in life in Islamabad was paralysed from January 14 to January 21 and schools, colleges and universities remained closed.
The second sit-in was staged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan, now the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Dr Tahirul Qadri of PAT jointly in October 2014, merely a year and a few months after May 2013 elections.
Imran Khan was demanding re-election in four constituencies while Dr Qadri’s sit-in was against Model Town incident in which his party’s 14 workers were killed by the Punjab police.
This was the longest sit-in protest against the then government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ended on December 14 after a terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.
Again normal life came to a halt during that sit-in and people’s movement and daily routine were badly affected.
Asma Kareem, a mother of three school going kids while talking to Gulf News here on Monday, said it seemed the government and the opposition both were indifferent to the problems of the common people, who suffered during such protests. A local vendor in Islamabad’s weekly bazaar Imtiaz said neither the government nor the opposition gains from such political unrest.
Only daily wagers’ life is affected and our children will suffer, he said.
Islamabad police have demanded more than 550 shipping containers to intercept the march before it enters the city. The demand was made by zonal superintendents of police City, Saddar, Industrial Area and Rural to the police’s logistics division.
The city zone has requisitioned 250 containers while the other three zones have sought 100 each. The logistics department has ordered a vendor to arrange 450 containers, according to a senior police official adding a request is ready for further requirements.