Residents of Islamabad have raised concerns over the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s ‘Azadi March’ and the government’s precautionary measures that have crippled life in the capital.
Food prices have shot up as people are stocking up for uncertain days ahead, while the economic cost of the proposed sit-in could rise in to the billions.
A small group of civil society activists gathered outside the National Press Club on Tuesday to protest against the PTI march.
The capital has almost been sealed with large shipping containers and cellular services have been suspended.
Citizens worried about the impact on education, as 400-plus government schools and over a thousand private educational institutes and offices have been shut for an indefinite period.
Centre for Civic Education Executive Director Zafarullah Khan said that they are not against anyone. “At the same time, lockdowns which negatively affect millions of lives should not be encouraged.” He said that while businesses are being affected, daily wage workers will suffer the most. He said the city’s infrastructure cannot accommodate thousands of the sit-in participants, adding that those who want to talk should go to parliament and the Election Commission, adding that such exercises benefit no one.
Dr Fauzia Saeed, head of the NGO Mehrgarh, said the administration needed to develop a mechanism for large scale rallies.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2014.
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