JUI-F’s Azadi March curbs freedom of movement in twin cities


ISLAMABAD: From blockade of main arteries of Islamabad and inter-city highway to the suspension of business activity and closure of schools and transport, the ongoing sit-in by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl had caused a serious disruption to the life in the twin cities.

Sitting on the Kashmir Highway of the federal capital to press their demands, the JUI-F protesters had virtually taken over the surrounding areas, markets and mosques bringing the daily life of the residents and commuters to a halt.

Some have erected their tents on roadside while others roam around or found sleeping inside mosques or corridors of markets and Metro hindering movement of people besides posing security risks.

The business community looks to be the major sufferers who either had lost access to their workplaces owing to the road blocks or get a minimal clientele across the day as the residents had put off their visits to the markets.

“Usually, I open my shop at 1100 hours but today, I reached at 1300 hours due to a detour.

Now I am sitting idle since hours.

During last three days, I got only a few customers,” said Amjad Abbasi who runs a hardware store in Peshawar Mor.

“Why doesn’t the administration specify a protest venue outside the city? The protest is usually held against the government but it is the people who always suffer, be it the traders, students, job holders or commuters,” Hidayat Khan said while sitting outside his otherwise crowded garments shop.

Due to security concerns, the city administration and private schools bodies had announced holidays on Thursday and Friday.

“My mid-term exams are going on.

But since last four days, I could not attend my school.

Till night, I remain uncertain whether the school would open tomorrow or not until I get confirmation from my school,” said Adyan, a school student.

The parents also feel insecure to send their children to schools fearing any untoward incident.

“It is better for the children to stay at home until the protest is over.

I don’t know what kind of people are around.

I can’t risk the life my innocent children,” said Amina Hashmi who lives in sector G-9 in close proximity to the protest venue.

As the government had also suspended mobile data service around the protest venue, it had badly affected the working of those who were associated with any IT-based businesses or offices.

Hundreds of residents who used to travel through Metro Bus Service daily between the twin cities now have to use local vans or taxi services which either remain hesitant to go to the area or charge excessively.

The residents looked unanimous to demand the government not to allow any such protest in or around the residential or commercial areas.

However, if it is done, it should cast no impact on the daily routine of the residents.