Major parts of Rawalpindi remained almost sealed for the fourth consecutive day as the city administration closed major arteries to stop the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) marchers from entering the garrison city.
The closure of businesses for the last 10 days on Murree Road has cost millions of rupees to the traders.
The metro bus service and public transport remained shut for the last four days and commuters continued to face extreme hardships.
The Faizabad Interchange, where the banned TLP is expected to stage a protest sit-in, remained sealed with containers for the past 10 days which has also barred the entry of goods vehicles in the city.
A citizen Muhammad Yamin said that he had to travel from Sadiqabad to Kutcheri for work but the traffic movement had been restricted completely.
Yamin said he had never seen such a state of affairs in Rawalpindi before as the administration has vanished after sealing the entire city.
A 70-year-old asthma patient, Tariq Javed, said that all roads leading to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital from Murir Chowk were blocked by placing containers.
He said that no rickshaw was allowed to go to the hospital while he could not walk on foot due to his health condition.
A furniture businessman Muhammad Taj said he had been doing business on Murree Road for four decades. During all these years, he said, he had never seen Rawalpindi in such a state of siege.
Read Sedition case sought against TLP
Taj said that numerous markets from Murir Chowk to Faizabad were closed for the past four days and the traders were facing a loss of millions of rupees every day.
Many motorcyclists were seen lifting their bikes up to the footpaths to find a way to reach their destinations.
Roads leading to hospitals have also been blocked leaving the ailing patients in the lurch, who were left with no option but to wait for the situation to normalize.
Meanwhile, the National Highway and Motorway Police said that GT Road was blocked at 10 spots from Gujjar Khan to Wazirabad. They asked motorists to use alternate routes.
Meanwhile, the closure of businesses has also aggravated the problems of daily wagers and labourers who depend on daily earnings to make a living.
The Rawalpindi administration said the Murree Road will remain sealed until the orders of the Punjab government.
Police detain 10 more TLP members
Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi police arrested 10 more members of the banned TLP during a crackdown.
So far, the police have booked 127 TLP workers and officials ahead of the banned organisation’s march on Rawalpindi.
The Saddar police said that 10 TLP workers were rounded up from Adiala Road and adjoining areas and shifted to an unknown location. Around 117 activists and workers of the banned party were detained in Adiala jail for almost a month.
The Rawalpindi police also conducted raids in areas along the Service Road adjoining Islamabad Expressway. The police booked four suspects for having weapons in their possession.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2021.