Islamabad experiences worst traffic jam amidst fears of PTI’s long march, farmers’ protest

Zubair Qureshi

The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) and the Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICTP) Wednesday jointly caused great public inconvenience by blocking various arteries and diverting traffic from one road to the other. All this was done in the name of a possible Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) long march and a protest by farmers.

Majority of the police officials who were supervising the traffic flow did not know why they were doing so and when asked by the commuters, they simply replied they received the orders from the high-ups to do so. The residents of the sectors G-8, 9, 10 and 11 were the most affected ones by this sudden traffic upheaval as the Srinagar Highway and the 9th Avenue were also blocked by the police and all the small, the big even heavy transport were directed to the adjacent routes of the above-mentioned sectors.

Besides the commuters, school children and students of the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), International Islamic University of Islamabad (IIUI), colleges located in G-H sectors were the worst affected and had to literally wait for hours to reach their homes/institutions.

In the Red Zone, police blocked the entrance points with the help of containers that again caused inconvenience to the office workers and those who wanted to go to the Public Secretariat for different purposes. A spokesperson of police when contacted said he did not know anything regarding what had prompted the government and the police to take such extreme steps.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Police booked a number of farmers for causing damage to the properties and violating law and order during their protest against the rise in electricity tariff and inflation.

According to details, the demonstrators – under the banner of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad – had gathered in F-9 Park of Islamabad against the rise in electricity tariff and inflation, threatening to march towards D-Chowk if demands are not met.

They said that the government needed to compensate for the damages caused by the recent rains. The protestors vowed to continue their protest till the fulfilment of their demands. They demanded to reduce the power tariff adding the government had raised the electricity to Rs36 per unit. The demonstrators also demanded subsidies on fertilizers and diesel, while taxes on agricultural machinery and tractors should be abolished.

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