Tuesday Nov 14, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Vexed by a prolonged sit-in at the Faizabad intersection by activists of religious groups, which has led the administration to close major roads by placing shipping containers, residents of the capital demanded immediate legislation to ban such processions.
They also asked the Supreme Court to take a suo motu notice of their misery for ensuring corrective measures by the administration.
Life in Islamabad’s suburban areas and Rawalpindi has been paralysed for around a week due to the occupation of the Faizabad Interchange by Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan and the road blockades created by the administration across the city to prevent the deterioration law and order situation.
The groups want the government to punish those responsible for changing the wording of the oath regarding the finality of Prophethood taken by lawmakers. The government had immediately fixed the 'clerical error' by passing another amendment.
The controversy had arisen when the ruling party had passed amendments to the Election Act 2017 in October.
Most roads connecting Islamabad and Rawalpindi remain choked leaving motorists and commuters frustrated in long queues for hours. Also, the Metro Bus Service, which covers key areas of the twin cities and is used by around 120,000 people daily, has been partially suspended for security reasons to the inconvenience of commuters.
The residents complained about the use of roads by political and religious groups for rallies and said such processions caused immense misery.
They said political and religious parties should stop using roads and public places to advance their agendas and if they don’t, the government should ban such rallies to the convenience of the people, especially road users.
The residents also regretted the death of a child needing immediate medical attention after being stuck in traffic jams due to the current Faizabad sit-in.
"Religious and politics are all about serving the people and therefore, clerics and politicians should prove it by their actions," said Sikandar Zaman, who commutes between the twin cities daily.
Another commuter, Alamgir Jan, criticised the administration for allowing a 'handful' people to hold the two cities hostage for so many days.
He said the administration should act against protesters challenging its writ without delay to ease the suffering of people, especially road users.
Shukriya Khan, a student, called for legislation to ban the use of roads for taking out rallies by religious and political groups.
She also said the Supreme Court chief justice should step in by taking a suo motu notice of the sit-in and road blockades as a human rights case and ordering corrective steps by the administration for the relief of the residents.
The commuters complained that due to the partial suspension of Metro Bus Service, they had no option but to use either slow-moving minibuses or fast taxis to reach their respective destinations and that cabbies overcharged them.
Originally published in The News