ISLAMABAD - Twin protests demanding the government step down have wreaked havoc in the capital, where commuters on Monday were found asking for the way to circumvent heavy containers to get to work, but most of them were left in utter disappointment.
"It is fifth day that city is under siege but nobody seems bothered about public, government says roads have been cleared but I am roaming on the roads from last many hours but on the end of every road, I find containers, Ghulam Murtaza, a resident of Chatta Bakhtawar said in an exhausted tone.
To avert the Pakistan Tehrik-I-Insaaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik sit-ins, the government had blocked entry and exit points into the capital along with closing most of the roads with around 450 containers, in such a way that sectors / colonies were isolated from each other.
Due to this segregation residents had hardly any idea that which road was closed and which was not.
“I have been trying way to reach Pak Secretariat, to attend my office, from my house in Barakahu, but I have been strangled on this Bannigala road from last two hours, Said Qasim Khan, a government employee working at Ministry of Finance.
Not only Murree road but also the roads which leads to the Red Zone, including Jinnah Road, Khyaban-i-Sohrawardy, Kashmir Highway, Nazimuddin Road and Fazal-i-Haq Road, remained blocked. Margalla Road was open but reaching the extreme western road and then making way on it remained a big challenge itself.
It was due to this rush that attendance remained thin in the offices located at Constitution Avenue. Important offices are situated on this road including Pakistan Secretariat, Supreme Court, Prime Minister Secretariat, Foreign Office and the Election Commission of Pakistan, FBR, National Assembly, Secretariat, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Shariat Court, and Awami Markaz.
Not only hundreds of thousands of people work in these offices, but also a large number of visitors come here from all parts of the country.
Due to blockades even Supreme Court Judges were reportedly unable to reach on time due to traffic. Embassies remained closed and those applied for visas were left with no option but to wait.
The residents of Murree Road Barakahu, and adjacent localities had to cover extra miles and spend additional hours to reach F-6 or Margalla Road.
Murree road is closed since Wednesday evening near Jillani Stop, and Lake View Park. Residents had to take Bani Gala Road to reach Rawaldam Chowk and from Rawal Dam they had to turn on Helipad Road, near sports complex they had to reach I-8 roundabout and had to take Faisal Road to reach Margalla Road.
Usually there is hardly any traffic on the thin roads of Bani Gala, an urban cum rural area, located at the eastern bank of Rawal Lake, but being the only road to reach other side of the Kashmir Avenue where twin protests are going on, it remained jammed packed throughout the day. Likewise, single lane, Helipad Road, which leads to sports complex and then I-8 roundabout, remained chocked with the buses trucks and other heavy traffic.
"We can hardly move due to road blockades and protesters. We have been facing noise pollution from last many days, our children are unable to sleep in this loud noise and have fell ill, said Rahima Bibi, a resident of a government quarters in Aabpara. Not only residents but many shopkeepers also complained about the problems.
The business of the capital was already down due to mass diggings for Metro Bus project, these protests has added to miseries of common man especially business community, said, Chaudhry Aslam, a local trader Union official. If blockade continues for some more days, many small businessmen will become bankrupt, he added.