Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) marches have brought life to a standstill in the federal capital.
As traffic remained off the roads and streets wore a deserted look, automated teller machines (ATMs) also ran out of cash after most banks have been closed for the past few days. Banks in Aabpara and Melody markets were covered with tents from as early as Tuesday.
The only shops that were open at Aabpara and Melody were eateries which made brisk sales. PAT chief Tahirul Qadri during his address on Saturday afternoon requested all traders of Aabpara, Melody and Blue Area to open their shops. However, shopkeepers remain wary of the ‘revolutionary’ crowds.
The crowds that took shelter from the rain under the arches and corridors of stores in Aabpara had blocked access to various ATMs.
In addition to the crowds, some of the banks had locked ATMs and covered them with sheets in order to prevent any robbery attempts. Many customers were forced to walk to far-off places to withdraw cash.
Rukhsana, a doctor, had to walk all the way to Melody after she checked all the ATMs at Khayaban-e-Sohrawardi, Aabpara.
“We do not bother about ‘azadi’ or ‘inqalab’. For us, it was a good opportunity to visit Islamabad,” said Mohuammad Farooq, who said his friends had gone to Blue Area in search of a working ATM. He said he felt for residents who are suffering because of the marches.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.