Relative normalcy returned to Model Town on Friday and Saturday as roads leading to Model Town Extension and Faisal Town opened for traffic.
The roads had remained blocked for almost 10 days to prevent Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers from marching on Islamabad.
Only two approaches to the area had been available to residents for a week. Two days before the march, they were confined to their houses partly because of the parades the PAT’s youth wing carried out, several residents said.
Traders of the International Market claimed that they had borne the brunt of PAT activism. More than half of the market had remained closed for 15 days due to the preparations for the long march. Traders claimed that alleyways famous for their fabric shops had been used as toilets by PAT activists.
Some of them also said party workers had illegally used their electricity connections to power fans and high-voltage lights. An electricity meter of a shop was reported damage.
Wahid Munir, a resident of M Block, said the area had virtually been turned into a war zone.
“First, we suffered the nuisance caused by barriers placed in front of the Minhajul Qauran International secretariat.”
He said residents had moved a court against the barriers a few years ago and got an order for their removal. Still, he said, the obstacles had not been removed.
However, he said that PAT workers had not caused any trouble while preparing for Inqilab March.
Another resident, who requested anonymity, said he had stopped his children from leaving the house.
“I never wanted my children to come across Qadri’s supporters marching and shouting slogans in the streets. It was like living in some Taliban-administered area in Afghanistan.”
He said he would sell his house and move to a safer place.
Imran Khan, owner of Kashish Dress Design in International Market, said it was for the first day after Eid holidays that he had opened his shop.
“It was hard to even stand here in the morning due to the stench. We got the entire market cleaned.”
He said business was slow. “Some of my customers called me today and asked if it was safe to visit the market,” Khan said.
Muhammad Arshad, the owner of Baby Choice, accused PAT workers of stealing electricity.
“Is this what Dr Qadri preaches to his followers? The way they have littered the place is despicable.” He stressed the need for a policy to deal with such situations in the future.
“There was no business for 15 days. I have suffered a loss of more than Rs100,000,” said Muhammad Habib, another shopkeeper.
Prof Zulfiqar, the Minhaj deputy public relations officer, said the party was aware of the inconvenience faced by people.
“Security guards deployed at the Minhaj secretariat know the residents well. The nuisance might have caused by the guards who had been called from other cities for Inqilab March,” Zulfiqar told The Express Tribune.
About the alleged power theft by PAT workers, he said some activists had taken shelter in the market during the rain. “They might have used electricity there as they had no other option.”
However, he said, PAT authorities would meet the shopkeepers and allay their concerns.
The situation also returned to normal in Zaman Park where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers had been camped before leaving for Islamabad for Azadi March.
“PTI workers have left for Islamabad leaving heaps of garbage behind. The area has not been cleaned yet,” said Mian Ali, a resident of Zaman Park.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ