After lacklustre address of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman Sunday evening and later on Monday, life in Islamabad and Rawalpindi is returning to normalcy and police and district administration have started removing containers from various roads of Islamabad and the garrison city.
Although Red Zone is not completely open yet other busy intersections that were earlier closed down with the help of ‘double-storey’ containers are open for traffic and private and public schools too remained open on Monday.
The Private Schools Association, which represents upscale schools in Islamabad’s urban areas, had announced on Sunday to reopen schools from Monday.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Chief of his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in his much anticipated address on Sunday upon the expiry of deadline had not given a call for ‘go ahead’ towards the D-Chowk as was earlier feared.
The residents of the twin cities heaved a sigh of relief upon his announcement that JUI-F was not going to take control of D-Chowk as was feared and would rather consult allied parties Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that had made it clear they would not back JUI-F’s plan of sit-in on the D-Chowk.
Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) had also announced to reopen on Monday, as well as most universities that had announced a two-day closure on Wednesday though Comsats has said that there will not be any educational activities at the university on Monday.
While talking to Pakistan Observer, Amna Mufti a mother of four children said the district administration of Islamabad and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government needed to do some homework and take such steps as in future no group or party could come or hijack the entire city and its normal life in future.
Our school-going kids kept asking us why their schools were abruptly closed down and why police had put up hurdles on the roads to restrict people’s movement and we had no answer to their questions, she said.
Khalid Siraj a vendor in Karachi Company G-9/4 also expressed his disappointment at extra security measure taken by the police and district administration. “Such environment of fear and uncertainty is a killing factor for our income as we are daily wagers and cannot support our families when there is no business or shops remain closed” said Khalid Siraj.
Muhammad Ajmal a student of the Comsats University said Pakistan is a democratic country and people elect their governments after every five years. “How can we expect the democratic system to work when a handful of dissident political workers come with their own agenda to topple government and install their own handpicked men,” he asked.
Meanwhile, residents of Islamabad were facing immense difficulties due to the various road blockades set for the ongoing Azadi March, but the situation is normalising according to a traffic update provided by Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat.
The city administration has placed shipping containers across major intersections to block the protesters from entering Islamabad’s high security zone.
Deputy Commissioner Islamabad claimed, “I have just visited all routes of the city. Although all roads are opened but because of containers around red zone, Kashmir Highway, Faizabad there is a massive traffic congestion. I apologize for the inconvenience. We are reviewing it and will make to easier in a while.”
The DC stated that the traffic blockades have been removed and only the protest site has been cordoned off due to security reasons.
He added that due to this problem the traffic on Kashmir Highway has been disrupted. He said, “Other than that entire Islamabad is up and running.”
The DC apologised to the residents for the inconvenience and informed that his team is reviewing the situation.