ISLAMABAD: The capital wore a somewhat deserted look with very thin traffic on Friday after a majority of residents left for their hometowns to celebrate Eid.
The five-day holiday encouraged the exodus from the city, which primarily is home to serving or retired government employees.
Many restaurants and eateries — run by people from Murree, Hazara and the capital’s outskirts — have also closed shops for at least a few days.
There were also very few public transport vehicles on the road. Commuters in most areas had to rely on taxis, which were also charging more than the normal fares.
Many more people were scheduled to leave the city on Friday. Those who stay in the city say Eid here is boring. Recreational spots in the capital are mostly visited by people from Rawalpindi and other towns and cities on the GT Road.
Vaqas Ahmed, a resident of the capital, said he spends Eid by sleeping and watching TV.
Zahid Mehmood, a journalist, said it was difficult to find even a restaurant or a grocer’s open in the capital during Eid holidays. He said the situation was worse until a few years ago.
Apart from government employees, retirees and traders, the city also hosts a sizable population of labourers working on construction sites in the city. These labourers mostly come from south Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Besides, there are thousands of Afghan refugees and the temporarily displaced persons of the tribal areas live in several katchi abadis on the outskirts.
Although the traders braced for a last-minute rush of shoppers, they too would be off to their cities and villages after winding up their Eid sales that often continue past midnight on Friday.
A week-long rush at the bus stands also subsided on Friday and those left behind could be seen looking for wagons and buses to take them home.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.