The unexpected call for army ‘facilitation’ to resolve the current deadlock has given rise to suspicions in the minds of residents of the capital. Some saw the act as a positive development, while others feared ‘undesired consequences.’
Sagheer Akhtar, a resident of Rawal Town, said all three parties — the government, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri — had hit a brick wall and had no options left but to ask the army to help resolve their issues.
“All of them needed a way out and that is why they have accepted the army’s mediation,” he said.
“It is the politicians’ incompetence…that they involved the army in a political issue,” said Nasir Iqbal, a resident of F-10 who runs an electronics business. “Now that they have chosen a ‘judge’ for themselves, they have no option but to accept the orders.”
Iqbal came down hard on politicians, saying that they were ‘begging’ the army to save them, adding that people had become fed up by the fact that the politicians could not solve their issues in the presence of a functioning parliament and judiciary.
Taxi drivers Muhammad Waseem and Muhammad Ashiq began reminiscing about the Musharraf era, saying that they had a better life before “so-called democracy”.
While favouring army intervention, the drivers said the sit-ins had badly affected their customer volume and they would be happy if the army resolves it soon.
“What benefits have we gotten from democracy? It might be good for the rulers but at grassroots level, we haven’t gotten any relief,” said Waseem.
While supporting his arguments, Waseem said a 20-kg bag of flour was available for Rs320 before 2007, while it now costs Rs920. Gas (CNG) was available five days a week instead of the current two days.
“What do we care whether democracy or martial law is imposed in the country. We just need basic facilities.”
Ashiq, however, was more cautious, warning that a window for military intervention had been opened and if the parties did not resolve their differences soon, there would be boots all around.
The army should have been involved earlier to end the deadlock, said Waqar Malik, a resident of F-8. He felt the army would play a positive role in resolving the issue.
Hafeezullah, 80, a vendor selling eyeglasses at Aabpara market, said his prime concern was how to make ends meet rather than “wasting time in finding a solution”, as no one was going to ask to him to play the role of mediator.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2014.