Islamabad -  “I am waiting for a van but all the passing vehicles are packed to the capacity. On the other hand, it is raining and the passenger shed is roofless,” said a lady commuter standing in front of Melody Market who was going to Rawalpindi from his workplace in Islamabad.
“Waiting for public transport while getting drenched in rain has become a routine practice for commuters like me,” she said. Just like Melody bus stop, weather sheds at different parts of the capital city are roofless, broken or occupied by vendors while some of the facilities work as permanent abode to addicts and beggars of the city.
During a survey of the city, The Nation found passengers expressing serious concerns over the poor conditions of passengers’ sheds at different bus stands. The commuters said that the government did not seem interested to fix the broken sheds or to take measures against the people who were misusing them. In some parts of the city, the people preferred being wet instead of taking shelter in dirty upswept sheds.
“Neither these sheds could protect us against the scorching sun not could provide shelter against the rain,” said Owais Ahmed, a student.
There are two weather sheds for passengers at Faisal Avenue near Margalla Road Crossing. One of the sheds is totally broken while the second is in working condition. “The shed has been broken since long but the concerned authorities are taking no interest to repair it,” said a local Muhammad Isa.
The glassy walls of a weather shed near Jinnah Super Market are broken from three sides while it has the seating capacity only for three people. In heavy rain no one can take shelter under this due to its broken walls.
This scribe found sheds at PIA Stop in Aabpara Market and Super Market in miserable conations. Commuters were finding it difficult to guard themselves against rain.
“These could protect us from sun but not against rain, as the rooftops need repair work,” said a commuter.
Two weather shed in front of Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS) are the much needed facilities for the visiting patients to the hospital but the shelters fail to facilitate the people.
 During the survey this scribe found one of the sheds being occupied by a gypsy family. One of the corners of the facility was being used as toilet by the family. In the second shed a man was sleeping along with his luggage. The visitors of the hospital were avoiding entering the shed due to the ‘occupants’. No one, especially the ladies, could dare to go near the shed and preferred waiting under the open sky. “When it is raining, the patients instead of waiting for public transport hire taxis as they don’t find place to wait. As rain starts the people come and occupy the place as long until the weather is clear,” said a nearby vender and added, “In summer the people prefer waiting under the shades of trees.”
G-9 Markaz, popularly known as Karachi Company, is one of the busiest markets of Islamabad. At bus stop, there are two large sized sheds for the passengers. If properly used, the sheds are enough for the commuters and visitors of the bazaar. But these facilities are misused.
During rain, the people complain about the beggars and addicts who usually occupy the place.
This scribe found on Monday that one of the sheds was in the use of a bagger who was enjoying his stay while sitting on a cot. His wheelchair was also standing beside. Another portion of that particular shed was occupied by a motorcycle that belonged to a nearby vender. “These sheds are made for the public and we are also the citizens of this country. It makes no difference whether the shed is occupied by passengers or by my bicycle,” the vender said.
Some of the sheds made under modern style, like the one built in front of Fatima Jinnah Park F-9, opposite to F-10 Markaz, hardly provide any shelter to commuters during rain. They are designed in a way that better serve as billboard and don’t protect people against sun or rain.
Some of the sheds are occupied by vendors in Islamabad. One of the sheds, adjacent to weekly bazaar Aabpara, was occupied by Pathan vendors selling secondhand shoes. In normal days they sell the secondhand products over the footpaths but when it rains they showcased their stuff inside the sheds made for the passengers.