Citizens stunned by administration’s lacklustre response to rioters

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Another dharna paralyses life

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The police force of Islamabad was criticized by the residents of Islamabad here on Monday for showing lackluster response to a handful of madrassa (religious seminary) students and their leaders who have managed to find their way to Red Zone and stage a sit-in there. These madrassa students had come all the way from Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi on Sunday after the chehlum of Mumtaz Qadri, marching towards Islamabad meeting little resistance from the police and security agencies. As a result of this breach of Red Zone, life in the federal capital has come to a standstill particularly for those who have businesses in the Blue Area or work at Secretariat or in the offices close by. Metro Bus as well as the mobile network service also remained suspended the entire day and it seemed the devotees of Mumtaz Qadri had taken the city hostage.
Federal capital police that has faced such sit-ins in the recent past like those of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan, surprisingly cut a sorry figure and let the marchers play havoc with the city. The madrassa students led by little known religious leaders not only made their way to the Red Zone they also caused damage to the government buildings and properties that came in their way including a Metro bus station. The lathi holders of Rawalpindi madrassas kept challenging the writ of the government making it loud and clear they would not inch a budge until “Nizam-e-Mustafa” was enforced in the country.
The leaders of the rioters also threatened the government with dire consequences and used words of abuse for the Prime Minister, Interior Minister, parliament and democratic institutions of the country.
‘Earlier you have been facing fake lions now see the real lions are here,’ said Pir Afzal Qadri an elderly religious leader while addressing the marchers. By ‘fake lions’, he was referring to the participants of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan’s dharnas.
Meanwhile, working class and those who have to travel between the twin cities daily for work or job faced much inconvenience due to suspension of Metro Bus Service. A number of the affectees of dharna while talking to Pakistan Observer expressed their disappointment at the absence of resolve by police and law enforcing agencies with regard to maintaining peace and law & order in the city.
A peon in a private office while sharing his ordeal with this scribe said he had to travel in a number of public transport vans and sometime walk for many minutes in order to reach the office. Metro Bus was a great medium of quick travelling and its suspension has caused inconvenience for hundreds like me, said he. Businessmen of the Blue Area were also much annoyed at these sits-in every other day.
“Our business deals and sale are badly affected due to such poor law and order situations,” said Iftikhar a sales supervisor in a travelling company. Had police taken in time action and stopped the rioters from entering Islamabad, business would have been as usual in Islamabad, said Iftikhar.
“If the rioters keep challenging the writ of the government like this, Pakistan state will be seen a weak federation and our enemy will label us as a banana state,” said Ikram Mansoor an international relations expert. Capitals all over the world are symbol of a country’s integrity and sovereignty and if a handful of rioters try to take them the states deal with them relentlessly, he further said.

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