The residents of Bani Gala continue to suffer as the security of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan was further enhanced last week.

After becoming PM, Imran Khan shifted to his official residence but he spends the weekends at Bani Gala. On every Friday afternoon, dozens of police officials and Rangers take control of the three-kilometre-long Korang road, linking Khan’s residence with the Murree highway.

Khan usually comes to his residence via helicopter. On every Friday afternoon, all the roads leading to Imran Khan chowk are closed as soon he flies from his official residence. All movement is halted amid whistles and sirens until the PM’s helicopter is not landed. But, since last week, the duration of the hold ups increased and Khan has been travelling in a convoy of two helicopters instead of one.

One helicopter lands and the other circles the area before leaving. During Saturday's and Sunday's Khan move around in identical Black BMWs, jamming the vehicles and police escorts. Many question that if PM’s cars have been auctioned, how come he still has more than six bomb-proof identical BMWs in his protocol convoy.

Police deployment has spread to other parts of the locality and officials can be seen roaming around, questioning the boasted austerity measures of the present government. The worst hit of the protocol are the shopkeepers having businesses in plazas alongside Korang Road. The police does not allow the shopkeepers to park in their own parking. Due to long halts, these shops are losing business.

Due to heavy police presence, the already small place shrunk even further and the residents have lost all their privacy, space and peace of mind. The extraordinary measures surprised many as Khan, during his speeches, always criticised his opponents for having protocol, which according to him was a massive burden on the national exchequer.

The second cause of frustration among residents is the on-going operation against illegal construction. Khan’s opponents cleverly spread rumours that, as per Reham Khan’s book, the small housing structures in Bani Gala are an eye-sore for Khan, which he allegedly call tiny matchbox houses. They propagate that Khan will include his residence and the area where the housing society of Aleem Khan and plots of other PTI leaders are situated, into zone 4, while the rest of Bani Gala would be shifted to zone 3.

According to CDA bylaws, no construction can take place in zone 3 while zone 4 is open for any new development. Insiders claim that the security has been enhanced on the reports while locals laugh it off. “It is a continuous headache; the area is being converted into a police state on weekends, what wrong we have done, why can’t the PM stay at his official residence? It is a violation of our basic rights,” said Zulfiqar a resident. The law enforcing agency men blame Inspector General Police and other top officials for the extraordinary security measures in the small village of Bani Gala.

The officials however blame the PM, who made popular political statements but has ordered them otherwise. It was learned that on demand of ‘simple’ Prime Minister a dedicated electricity supply to his house is being installed. IESCO officials, however, insist the new line is not being provided on PM orders but it is being erected to smooth electricity supply to the area.