Abrupt statements, fake deadlines, hollow threats
Rawalpindi—Awami Muslim League’s (AML) founder president MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed is being increasingly criticized by the people of his own constituency for making their lives miserable by holding rallies and protests on every other day. One such rally was taken out on Saturday but after seeing the people’s lackluster response died down half way. However, due to the political drama aired by TV channels earlier in day residents of interior Rawalpindi had to face much inconvenience, especially children, students and traders and office workers.
“Police cordoned off the main roads and crossings with the help of barbed wires, containers and pickets and we had to cover long distance to reach our college,” said a student Shazia who looked visibly upset due to the administration’s failure to allocate an alternate route to her private college located near Lal Haveli. However, major part of her complaint was addressed to Sh Rashid who she said was responsible for the woes of the people.
An elderly man Qamar Abbas in Teli Mohalla was of the view, “I am surprised how people believe his lies let alone tolerate him. “The man known as Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has one point agenda and it is to be a member of the National Assembly through fair means or false,” said Abbas. In the past too, whenever he was elected he never turned up in his constituency and forgot his promises and this he is doing this time as well. Yasir Butt a worker of the PML-N said Sh Rashid Ahmed is trying to take advantage of the political momentum built up against the Prime Minister and his family over Panama Papers. He is taking refuge in the parties and protests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and has in a way befooled them, said Butt. However, he remarked that people of Pindi are tired of sit-ins and protest rallies being taken out every other day by PTI, PAT or AML. Now they will vote only those who can do something for them, said he.
On Saturday, however, according to the majority of the public misery was let loose because of AML leader’s unplanned poorly organized rally and before that his threats on every TV channel of blocking down the city.
Fearing his announcements, the district administration begun blocking roads in the garrison city on Saturday morning; all roads from Katchery Chowk to Marrir Chowk and onwards to Rehmanabad (near 6th Road) were blocked with containers.
These measures led to paralyzing life in downtown Rawalpindi and citizens struggled to go about their business, taking long detours and sitting in traffic jams most of the time. Schools and colleges were also instructed to declare a holiday and several students had to return home, while others found themselves trapped in the absence of public transport.
There was also confusion over whether PAT would end its rally in Pindi or continue onwards to the capital. The party had earlier planned a rally in Rawalpindi on August 28, but postponed it after Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan agreed to stage simultaneous rallies in Lahore and Rawalpindi on Sept 3.