The curfew-like situation in Rawalpindi for a second consecutive day, aimed to prevent the sit-in of Tehreek-e-Labbaik-e-Pakistan (TLP), has adversely impacted the daily life of citizens.
People were disturbed by the shortage of petrol and food items due to a ban on entry of heavy vehicles into the city. Murree Road was sealed from Mareer Chowk to Faizabad Interchange, while several main roads like Liaquat Road, Gawalmandi, Moti Mahal, China Market, Iqbal Road, Dhok Khabba, Circular Road, Kohati Bazaar, Chandni Chowk, Rawal Road, Sixth Road, Shamsabad Double Road, Dhok Kala Khan Road and other highways were also sealed.
The residents of the area faced severe difficulties, while a large number of patients remained unable to reach hospitals. The metro bus service and other public transport also remained shut.
Many citizens have also started revising dates of marriages, owing to the law and order situation.
Due to the roundup of large vehicles and ban on their entry, goods could not reach wholesale markets, leading to a shortage of food items.
A rickshaw driver, Yasin Khan, who is the sole breadwinner of his family, said he had six children who were on the verge of starvation. He said he was out of work for two days.
A kidney patient, Raja Fahim, said he had to go for dialysis, but he could not reach the hospital due to road blockage - deteriorating his health further.
On the other hand, several attempts were made to contact Rawalpindi Commissioner Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah and Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muhammad Ali, but they could not be reached.
Bridges sealed in Jhelum
The Jhelum administration has sealed the Naya and Purana Bridges, leading to massive traffic jams in the city.
The police have also placed containers on both bridges to stop TLP activists, due to which people using GT Road are facing immense difficulties. Sources said TLP activists have started removing containers with cranes. Heavy police contingents are also deployed on both sides of the bridges.
The traffic movement from Rawalpindi to Lahore is opened, but vice versa is closed, owing to which traffic jams were witnessed at Jhelum toll plaza. All three bridges over the Jhelum River in Sarai Alamgir have also been barricaded.
The heavy traffic moving to Lahore from Islamabad is being diverted to Sohawa Chakwal Mor, while small vehicles are reaching GT Road after passing through Mangla bypass.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2021.
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