ISLAMABAD - It was the tear gas that finally dispersed the revolutionaries who had been occupying the Constitution Avenue for the last 17 days that had virtually paralyzed routine life in Islamabad.
Out of the 42 followers of PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, who were brought to Polyclinic hospital, 40 patients had suffered from tear gas intoxication while the four patients that landed at CDA hospital had swollen eyes due to the tear gas.
“We have braved tear gas on many occasions. But today’s one was different. It was severe. I started vomiting and almost fainted,” Saqib, 18, and activist of PAT, told The Nation while being treated at the emergency ward of Polyclinic.
Saqib was still determined to accomplish the dream of his spiritual leader Qadri by bringing revolution in the country, however, he could not withstand the tear gas thrown on him by police when he was about to storm Prime Minister House.
Uzma, 22, a PAT activist from Narowal who had just recovered from the state of intoxication due to tear gas, said she was in the second line of protesters intending to reach the PM House when she saw a massive smoke.
“I though as if it was a suicide attack or a bomb blast. But within few seconds I felt as if I was stumbling. My colleagues advised me for covering my eyes but I could not get it. Later, I knew in the hospital that it was tear gas,” Uzma told this reporter while rubbing her eyes.
The road outside the emergency ward of the hospital was swamped by the activists of PAT praying for the health of their dear and near ones. They had been raising anti-government slogans on Constitution Avenue for the last two weeks.
But Sunday night, the diehard supporters were gripped by silence and confusion with their faces having turned pale and scared. It was the tear gas that had dispersed them. “It was very extreme,” Muhammad Rizwan, another activist, commented.
Narrating the story when the police intercepted the protesters after they crossed Supreme Court, Bilal, said the police carried out a surprise attack by resorting to massive shelling of tear gas and rubber bullets. “Police did not give us a chance to recover and we ran for safety,” Shazia, daughter of Shah Muhammad, said.
“We would pick the shell of tear gas and would throw it back at police. We tried it today but the smell was extremely bad. It was a chemical gas. We have never seen a tear gas so severe,” 16-year old Mubashir, a PAT activist from Lahore, said.
Majority of the male and female supporters of PAT who were admitted in the hospitals were in their teens, who said they did not expect police would stop them from approaching towards the new venue, the PM House.
“We were stunned by the sudden attack. We were peaceful. The police attack is unjust. We will take revenge. We will force the government to step down,” Tameeza, 34, who belonged to Jhelum, was still adamant that the activists would not leave for homes without toppling the government.