15-day roads blockade, Faizabad turns into garbage dump

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Zubair Qureshi

At a time when smog factor has emerged as a looming environmental threat in Punjab and there is a countrywide call for environment protection, protesters of Thereek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) have turned the entire Faizabad Interchange into a garbage dump. For the last fifteen days, one can see empty cans, polythene bags, disposable lunch boxes, used pieces of cloth, ashes of burned material, waste of edibles including fruits and other grocery items, disposable boxes and water bottles in short garbage of all kind scattered there on roads by the protesters. Besides multiplying people’s hardships, the two-week long sit-in has posed environmental threat to Rawalpindi and the federal capital.
The 3-km radius area occupied by the protestors is a picture of pathetic sense of civic responsibility displayed by dharna walas. The items scattered in the area reflecting the landscape as wasteland. Interestingly, the participants of sit-in display immense discipline while receiving food from the vehicles that enter the rally venue with food items. However, after eating the food they fail to show the same discipline and simply throw away the disposable boxes and empty cans after enjoying the food. Sunday’s brief skirmish between police and protesters added stones and rocks on the site as one policeman was injured in unprovoked attack by the protesters. TLYRA workers on the other hand, blamed police started throwing stones on them first and they had to retaliate.
Usama, a worker TLYRA, said he was ready to lay down his life on the orders of Ameer-ul-Mujahideen (Khadim Hussain Rizvi). We shall prefer martyrdom to arrest, they pledged allegiance to their leader, who is taking oath from the crowd to remain steadfast if the government used force to disperse them for vacating the area. One of the workers while responding to Pakistan Observer said the government was responsible for their disregard to civic sense. Instead of providing us with the necessary things like waste bins, mobile toilets and disposable tents, they are tightening the noose with the passage of every day, said Akram Rana another worker of the Tehreek. On the other hand, due to prolonged dharna, there is no end to miseries of those who have to travel in the twin cities daily. People of Islamabad, are members of the salaried class, retired bureaucrats and some business people who love peace, civilization and quiet life. However, what they are getting in return are blocked roads, traffic jams, interrupted signals, closed schools and business following constant threats.
According to Ashraf Rizvi a resident of Islamabad who has to daily come to Islamabad from DHA, Rawalpindi, he has to face immense traffic blockade daily due to the sit-in. My question is why the government has allowed Islamabad to be taken hostage by a few hundred maulvis. What is the impossible demand that cannot be met and if it was not the government’s responsibility to ensure that people live in peace and carry on their day-to-day life. Everyone will be grateful for getting back the roads and phone service and children going to school and a normal life, he said.

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