Night in the capital: PTI workers from K-P unhappy at party leaders’ apathy

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(Clockwise from top right) PTI supporters take shelter 
from rain under a plastic sheet; makeshift toilets being set up for the marchers near Aabpara; participants dance to a party song; workers sleep on a greenbelt at Zero Point. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD JAVEID, QAMAR ZAMAN/EXPRESS, AFP

(Clockwise from top right) PTI supporters take shelter from rain under a plastic sheet; makeshift toilets being set up for the marchers near Aabpara; participants dance to a party song; workers sleep on a greenbelt at Zero Point. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD JAVEID, QAMAR ZAMAN/EXPRESS, AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

They spent the night dancing and chatting, but after having spent the morning sleeping on greenbelts and dividers at Zero Point, Aabpara, and the Rose and Jasmine Garden, they let loose on local party leaders for exposing them to the elements.

Hundreds of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers reached Zero Point on Thursday, parked their vehicles in the same area and began merriment.

(Clockwise from top right) PTI supporters take shelter
from rain under a plastic sheet; makeshift toilets being set up for the marchers near Aabpara; participants dance to a party song; workers sleep on a greenbelt at Zero Point. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD JAVEID, QAMAR ZAMAN/EXPRESS, AFP

“It was not a night’s sleep. Just a nap at best,” said Jehanzaib Khan with droopy eyes and a wry smile. The PTI supporter from Upper Dir lamented that there were no bathrooms anywhere, and that they even had to arrange food and drinking water by themselves.

Since the arrival of the first group from K-P, street vendors rushed to the area to make a quick buck on an otherwise slow business day.

“We came all the way from Mardan and were told by [our] Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Atif Khan that all basic facilities will be available at the meeting point. We just had to make sure we get here,” said Zahid Khan, who works at a school in Mardan.

Meanwhile, K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and cabinet ministers Shah Farman, Mushtaq Ghani, Atif Khan, Shaukatullah Yousafzai and others arrived with the protesters, but they spent the night at Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa House.

‘It’s the Islamabad admin’s fault’

When the K-P ministers were asked what went wrong with the arrangement, the blame game began.

Speaking on Friday, Farman, the K-P minister for public health and culture, said they arrived in Islamabad late at night so arrangements could not be made, but they have now started making arrangements for drinking water, washrooms, and other facilities.

(Clockwise from top right) PTI supporters take shelter
from rain under a plastic sheet; makeshift toilets being set up for the marchers near Aabpara; participants dance to a party song; workers sleep on a greenbelt at Zero Point. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD JAVEID, QAMAR ZAMAN/EXPRESS, AFP

K-P Information Minister Ghani first blamed the district administration, saying, “They did not allow us to enter the city and erect a single tent anywhere so what could be expected,” before changing his mind and saying, “The actual sit-in and long march are [on Friday], but people from K-P arrived on Thursday night.

But Zar Wali from Kohat ‘disagreed’ in a clourful manner. He said these were lame excuses for procrastination. He argued that “they should have planned these things before hitting the roads to avoid this mess”.

Wali said each vehicle was given Rs2,000 to buy food and other items for passengers onboard, but that was barely enough for one meal. He added that 15 vans and coasters turned back and went home due to the lack of facilities. At the same time, some party workers near Aabpara said that “for change, they can bear hunger and thirst”.

By Friday evening, makeshift washrooms were erected near the spot where the stage was to be set, but the wait for water continued. However, downpour through the afternoon made the weather more bearable.

Blowback

Tempers rose when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Khattak, reached Aabpara Chowk on Friday evening after having spent the night and much of the day in the climate-controlled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa House while party workers and supporters slept on roads.

“Had the CM spent the night with us, many of us would have felt better,” said Hasan, who had come from Nowshera. “He has just come for the photo session.”

(Clockwise from top right) PTI supporters take shelter
from rain under a plastic sheet; makeshift toilets being set up for the marchers near Aabpara; participants dance to a party song; workers sleep on a greenbelt at Zero Point. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD JAVEID, QAMAR ZAMAN/EXPRESS, AFP

Hasan then cut loose on the local party leadership and organisers for their failure to make any arrangements for out-of-town participants.

As the chief minister marched towards the Sports Complex from the Aabpara Chowk, a crane swiftly removed the container placed to restrain the movement of march participants. Trucks, trailers and pedestrians followed and stopped near the Sports Complex on Kashmir Highway.

As rain turned the weather pleasant, a large number of the rally attendees started dancing to the blaring music over loudspeakers. Rain forced many others to rush for cover in Aabpara market.

Sniffer dogs helped the organisers check the site in the wake of security threats. On the other hand, a couple of helicopters making rounds overhead were met with loud boos.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th,2014.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Mohsin
    Aug 16, 2014 - 12:13PM

    i have never seen such a pathetic political show, without aim, without direction and without planning. May Allah save our country from such characters. amen.

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