ISLAMABAD - A state of disorder continued to rule the Constitution Avenue on Wednesday after the PAT protestors besieged the National Assembly, Pak Secretariat and Cabinet Division buildings.
“Besiege all the gates of the National Assembly building, so that even a mosquito could not go in or out,” these were the orders of PAT Chief Tahir-ul-Qadri delivered to his workers during his morning speech and after which all workers rushed to the offices and surrounded them.
Equipped with long and thick sticks, the PAT workers ran towards the building amid police and rangers kept them detached from the developments.
Then there was again some activity in the bulletproof and bombproof cabin of Qadri and his voice emerged again.
“I have just come to know PM Nawaz Sharif has escaped from an adjacent building, workers should seal adjacent buildings too,” he shouted through his microphone.
And workers took positions on the orders of their chief in a mechanical way.
Qadri’s container is facing Parliament House, Presidency, and Cabinet Division offices, while Imran Khan container is placed on D-Chowk, some meters away from that of Qadri.
After the announcement, dozens of women clad in identical suits, wrapped in glittering yellow rescue jackets, took position in front of the Cabinet Division. After some time some preferred to sit. Gradually some lay down, while some took refuge behind umbrellas from the taxing August sun.
“We have seen how brutal government was in Lahore last month and now we have come here prepared, we have trained rescue and first aid team, who can provide medical help to our brothers and sisters in case police become violent”, said Majida Qadri, resident of Sargodha, in an emotional tone.
Not only Majida but also other PAT workers seemed prepared, at least this is what they thought.
“We have masks, salt and water bottles, which would protect us from shelling,” said another worker Kalam Hussain, showing a poor quality gas mask hanging from his neck.
Scattered throughout the Constitution Avenue with large gatherings at Pak Secretariat, National Assembly and Cabinet Division, many of the workers were wearing yellow and industrial helmets.
“When police had attacked our secretariat in Model Town Lahore, many died due to head injuries, so we have arranged these helmets in bulk to protect ourselves,” said Qamar Baba, a PAT worker from Lahore.
Due to this large crowd, the Constitution Avenue looked like a battlefield. There were papers, cartons, empty cans and food wrappers everywhere, and a stinking smell of rotten food, urine, and human sweat was spread throughout the area.
“I came to Islamabad on 14th of August, since then I’m sleeping in lawns every night and have taken shower only once, you have to sacrifice to achieve higher goals,” Amjad Khan, a young PTI worker from Krak, said.
It was learnt that not only protestors but also law enforcement agencies have been urinating and defecating in lawns and green belts, in the absence of any toilet.
PPTI area seemed deserted during the daytime as compared to PAT.
The expressions on the faces of police were no different from the protestors. They seemed exhausted, wearing heavy riot gear; long continuous duty under hot and humid weather of Islamabad, fatigue and restlessness was all over their faces.
At around 5pm, Qadri’s voice again emerged from the container, telling his workers to spare the gates of the buildings so that officials besieged inside could come out.
The first batch of the government officials came out slowly in the guard of Punjab police.
“I have been under a state of stress throughout the day; my family was calling me desperately, I felt so helpless”, said an official Akram Javiad, in a shivering voice, while coming out of the building.
After sunset PTI workers started assembling at their area.
“No, we have women and children with us, law enforcement agencies would not dare attack us,” said a PTI worker Najma Mehroz in a firm tone.
Not only Constitution Avenue, the state of chaos was apparent on the streets of capital where traffic was very thin. Most of the entry and exit points remained sealed with containers and residents preferred to stay at their homes.