ISLAMABAD - Till Tuesday night, a scattered, mismanaged and highly disordered crowd of around 15,000 activists of Tehreek Minhajul Quran (TMQ) stretching over an area of two kilometres between Kalsoom Hospital Chowk to slightly ahead of D-Square on Jinnah Avenue had become extremely vulnerable to any terror act.

According to independent observers some 35,000 people were present on Jinnah Avenue when TMQ’s chief Tahirul Qadri delivered his morale booster speech after midday on Tuesday while sitting inside a highly fortified and bombproof multipurpose container.

But as the speech ended, people started dispersing. Those who were from twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and other adjoining cities left for their homes with a promise to come back on Wednesday morning.

The number 35000 shrunk to around 15000 (as per estimates of Police Special Branch and ICT Administration) till Tuesday night. And it was all those who hailed from far-flung areas of the country including Southern Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir and interior Punjab. The TMQ has not only violated an agreement it had signed with the city administration but it also left party activists - who are brought to participate in Qadri-led march on Islamabad from all across the country after giving them assurances regarding unhindered supply of food and accommodation - on the mercy of God. Shelter-less and food-less, indeed option less, poor protesters including women, young girls, and children started occupying verandas and galleries of plazas located on the both sides of Jinnah Avenue as the sun sunk below the horizon.

As verandas filled to their maximum capacity, the protesters took refuge under the trees, while remaining ones thought it best to sit by the small fires under the naked sky and talked about revolution that according to them is on the brink of happening.

Several makeshift shops have also been sprung up within the scattered crowd selling edibles and other items of immediate necessity.

In the absence of proper mechanism to serve food to the participants of the gathering, the protesters found running here and there in search of free food that was distributing by the TMQ administration through vans and mini-trucks.  “I have brought only Rs1000 with me when I left my home to join the long march. I have already spent the money and now even unable to travel back to my hometown,” Zaka Ahmed a participant from Rahimyar Khan observed.

The Metrological Office besides predicting partial and light rain spell in Islamabad starting from Wednesday night counted the minimum temperature on Tuesday near 2 degree centigrade. After braving a chilly night under the naked sky on Monday, most of the protesters made their way back to their hometowns and now only diehard party activists among them a large number of women are left on Jinnah Avenue.

However, the morale of young activists of the party is high despite hardships they have been facing in the way of bringing self-defined revolution, as they were found dancing in small groups on party anthems in the evening.

While young cherish girls riding on trucks found sloganeering in favour of revolution and Tahirul Qadri while travelling within the limits of scattered crowd. The mosques fall in and around the protest venue remained target of the participants of the march. Protesters queued up outside the toilets waiting for their turn. While it was a field day for the owners of dhabas and other roadside food stalls as they remained flooded with the hungry protesters.

Earlier well before the Qadri’s address to the gathering an unpleasant situation arose when a small scuffle occurred between the police and protesters. Police fired teargas shells while protesters pelted stones and sticks in response.

Islamabad Police is of the view that they took action after hearing gunshots fired by TMQ activists somewhere in the crowd, while protesters were of the opinion that Police attempted to nab Tahirul Qadri and the move was resisted.

However, humming the serious outcome of any adventure the police troops were pulled back later from the venue of protest. Since now there is no security in place at the venue of protest and everyone can enter in the crowd without any checking.

Later in the night, Qadri in his short address to the gathering recounted the details of attack did by police on the rally. He asked the participants to beware of ‘nefarious’ designs of police. His short speech reenergized the gathering.