RAWALPINDI: On the third day of protests, life in Rawalpindi remained stalled as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters blocked many city routes in revenge for PTI leader Imran Khan’s attempted murder near Wazirabad last week.
While the general public and business community suffered due to clogged roadways, Law Minister Raja Basharat and other party members decided to watch the T20 cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand on the closed IJP Road. “Today marks the third day of [the] sit-in at Islamabad’s entry and exit ports,” the minister tweeted. “I’m watching the cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at IJP Road with @PTIofficial staff.”
The Old Airport Road was closed near Gulzar-i-Quaid, making it impossible for the general public to pass by the protesters. To allow the motorcade to pass while traveling to Nur Khan Airbase, PTI leader and President Arif Alvi’s supporters opened one track of the road, which was then blocked again. The route was eventually made accessible for traffic at 4 p.m., according to traffic police.
Murree Road, a key highway in Pindi, was closed for traffic near Iqbal Park, where protesters had put chairs to obstruct the road, but all intercity roads, including Peshawar Road and Mall Road, were open for traffic, according to the police.
The Punjab law minister “enjoys” a cricket match on the closed IJP Road.
Jhelum Road Roadblock
A small group of PTI supporters who had barred vehicles from entering Rawalpindi at 10 p.m. on Tuesday continued to obstruct traffic on Jhelum Road near Soan Bridge throughout the day, jeopardizing the delivery of petrol and other supplies to the garrison city. On the Soan Bridge, close to the Lahore High Court, one track of the road was left open for two-way traffic, allowing motorbikes and compact cars to enter and exit the city.
As a result of the blockade, numerous trucks carrying food and oil tankers were snarled in traffic, and there were numerous lines of oil tankers, trucks, and containers that hardly made room for motorbikes or other small vehicles to pass. A squad of district police was powerless to clear the route for the heavy traffic, while a few PTI supporters patrolled the area with batons.
Because heavy traffic was not allowed into the city, some goods haulers were seen moving their cargo to smaller vehicles to get around the obstacles. Dawn was informed by an oil truck driver that he had been stranded there since the previous night and that he would eventually be allowed to proceed, despite not knowing when the “siege” would end.
Similarly, most individuals in the housing estates along Jhelum Road chose to stay home due to traffic concerns, while a public holiday and ongoing PTI protests left the majority of the city’s business sectors unoccupied.
On regular days, the city traffic police respond quickly to ease the situation for the public, but in the case of PTI protests and road blockades that caused significant problems for the public, the traffic police response has lagged; even the district police have been observed “protecting the demonstrators rather than the public” while the traffic police failed to clear the roads.
According to a news release from the City Traffic Police, the protest prompted the closure of Sarai Kala Chowk and both sides of the GT Road at Margalla, as well as the IJP Road near Pirwadhai Mor and the Rawalpindi Road approaching Slip Turn.
Highway Patrol Will Protect March
Up to 1,542 members of the Punjab Highway Patrol (PHP) and officials have been despatched to a number of districts in Punjab, including Gujrat, Jhelum, and Attock, to guarantee faultless security arrangements for the lengthy march.
500 of the 1,542 PHP troops would be stationed at the Gujarat Police Lines as the IGP Reserve to manage any crises that may arise during the march, before being deployed to Jhelum and Rawalpindi to support the local police throughout the arduous march.
The impacted districts are responsible for providing lodging, food, and other forms of care to standby personnel.
Educational Institutions That Have Closed
According to the local authorities, educational institutions in the garrison city would be closed for an additional day on Thursday.