ISLAMABAD: The tolerance level of Islamabad residents seems to have hit the breaking point, with the disturbance to daily life caused by the closure of major inter and intra-city roads and highways, markets and public transport in and around the sit in venues.
There have been multiple incidents of heated exchanges between local residents and marchers, particularly in Aabpara Market and along Khayaban-e-Suharwardy, largely due to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers subjecting all adults and teenagers entering the protest area — adjacent to the market and numerous residential units — to body searches.
“I’ve live here for 30 years. What am I going to do? Blow up my own house?” said Arif, a retiree who lives near Aabpara and was in the market to buy chicken.
Taj Muhammad works in Aabpara, 10 feet from the street corner where a PAT security checkpoint had been set up.
Similarly, a woman who lives in the area said with great annoyance that the workers also checked her and even her handbag and purse. She was doubly incensed by “the fact that these workers are not even aware of what change Tahirul Qadri or Imran Khan will bring”. She also said that most of the participants seem to be here for a pleasure trip rather than to bring change. She also pointed towards heaps of garbage scattered on the roads, footpaths and green areas, besides the pungent smell of human waste.
Some of the septic tanks attached to the makeshift toilets had apparently overflowed or gotten flooded by rainwater.
Meanwhile, People from Muslim Colony near Bari Imam said that they had been under siege since August 12 due to containers placed on all four sides of the colony, leaving residents without access to hospitals nor can they get to their workplaces in the city. They said that their pantries had run dry, while daily wagers said they have not been able to buy food for a square meal since the marches began.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.
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