The containers placed in and around the Red Zone failed completely and disastrously in dissuading the protestors of various religious factions from entering the Red Zone. The same containers, however, proved extremely useful in ‘curbing and curtailing’ the access of ordinary citizens’ as well as employees of NADRA, FBR, National library, Foreign Office and the Supreme Court.
The residents of capital were made to suffer after containers were placed on various routes forcing people to find their own way to the place they want to reach. Those visiting the Foreign Office to get their documents attested and those visiting NADRA Office to get their National Identity Cards were made to jump through hoops just to gain entrance to these places. The police containers proved to be deterrence for law-abiding citizens, but the protestors ran through them without breaking a sweat.
It has become a standard practice to shut sown Red Zone completely by putting containers on all the entry and exit routes whenever things come to a head. However, the efficacy of this tactic is still in doubt as every time the protestors have tried to break through and enter Red Zone, they have succeeded.
Murtaza, a student applying for studies abroad, was visibly distressed. He came from Sargodha to get his documents attested from Foreign Office but once he reached the capital, every road was sealed by police and Rangers.
“I have no family here, I arrived early to reach Islamabad and do whatever I needed to do within a day and then return home. But the roads are sealed now, and there is no way I could enter the area. The protestors are already inside, but for people like us there is still no entrance.”
This is not the first time the Red Zone has been breached by angry protestors. During the Qadri-Imran episode, all the entry and exit points were walled with containers and the whole Red Zone was made into one impenetrable fort. But the fort fell the moment the first wave of protesters marched in with a crane.
This time around, however, there were no cranes. The protestors simply set the containers on fire and made their way through the barricades.