RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters finally called off their four-day-long protest on Thursday after receiving flak from residents of the garrison city who had remained stranded in at their homes and traffic jams due to multiple blockades in the city.
The PTI workers had taken to the streets to protest the murder attempt on party chairman Imran Khan near Wazirabad last week, resulting in injuries to Mr Khan and a dozen other supporters along with the death of one party worker.
The protest which had paralyzed life in Pindi had come under strong criticism from the residents of the city who reminded the PTI local leaders of their chairman’s slogans of “Riasat-i-Madina” and said the blocking of main roads was unjustified.
An embarrassing situation emerged for protesters when an elderly man who was standing near local PTI leader Fayyazul Hassan Chohan vehemently denounced the demonstrators’ road blockade and disruption of daily life.
Rawalpindi board postpones practical exams for Matric students
People also lambasted the role of the district police besides protesters who were harassing transporters, journalists and other people who tried to convince them to remove the blockade to restore citizens’ freedom of movement.
The days-long siege of the city caused millions of rupees of losses to goods transporters, business communities and daily wagers as business activity remained halted.
Soan bridge logjam
Enraged protesters pelted an oil tanker with stones when its driver tried to remove a blockade near Soan on Wednesday night to proceed to an oil refinery in Morgah. As a result of the pelting, other drivers decided not to move ahead following such a response by the agitators.
“Each tanker is carrying 30,000 litres of oil and it is like a ‘big bomb’. If someone showed a match stick or a cigarette, it would cause massive destruction,” Sajid Abbasi, a driver, told Dawn.
“We have been stuck here for 72 hours because of a handful of protesters near Soan Bridge and do not know when someone will come to our rescue,” Mr Abbasi had said before the blockade was lifted.
Shahid Iqbal, another oil tanker driver fed up with roadblocks, said that his tanker was carrying oil worth Rs10 million but he was unable to move ahead.
“I have been taking one meal a day for the last three days [to survive the blockade],” said Mr Iqbal and added: “We have been suffering from huge losses due to this situation.”
Another truck driver, identified as Shabir Hussain claimed he had been stuck on the road since dawn as a result of the roadblock by protesters. “I was transporting medicines and food items that couldn’t be stored in this environment for a long period of time,” he claimed.
Another driver of the freight container said that the chief justice of Pakistan or the chief justice of the Lahore High Court should take notice of this situation and bring such people to justice who have been halting people’s right to freedom of movement.
According to City Traffic Police, the ongoing sit-in by the political party at Murree Road and Pirwadhai Mor was over and roads were cleared for traffic following the announcement by the PTI to end protests.
A spokesperson for the traffic police said that the protesters’ camp has been removed from Murree Road and Pirwadhai Mor. “All the diversions put in place by the traffic police to facilitate the public have been removed after the political party lifted their protest camps from the roads. Traffic police officials have been engaged in maintaining the flow of traffic on roads,” said the traffic police.
Practical exam postponed
According to Controller of Examinations Prof. Nasir Mahmood Awan, the Practical Examination Matric Second Annual 2022 administered by the Board of Education Rawalpindi which were supposed to be held on November 10 in Rawalpindi had been cancelled in view of the current situation in Rawalpindi.
The new dates will be announced later and the practical exam candidates will also be informed about the new date.
Moreover, the Practical Examination of Biology and Computer Science in Attock, Jhelum, Chakwal, and Rawalpindi suburbs will be held as per the issued schedule.