ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers continued their protest for the third consecutive day on Wednesday in Islamabad by blocking M-1 and M-2 motorway creating difficulties for commuters.
A long queue of vehicles could be seen stuck on the motorway. People are unable to reach their places of work and students can’t go to their educational institutes.
Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly Wasiq Qayyum asked the PTI workers to continue their protest against the assassination attempt on their leader Imran Khan for the third day.
Traffic and other routine activity all but came to a halt in Rawalpindi with sporadic traffic jams witnessed on major arteries and connecting roads. Murree Road, Pirwadhai Mor, Gulzar Quaid Old Airport Road, Sarai Kal Chowk Taxila, Rata Shah Chowk Margalla, Motorway M2, Islamabad near Lahore Toll Plaza have been closed due to ongoing protests at various places. Protesters have also blocked the road towards Rawalpindi near Swan Bridge SOS Village, while traffic is being directed on one side of the road, due to the closure of roads.
The traffic system in Murree remained severely affected for the third day today. On the other hand, the PTI’s sit-in near the GT Road Swan Bridge caused long lines of cargo vehicles and halted other traffic, including that of passenger cars.
As a result commuters faced immense difficulties, including school going children, patients, office workers and others.
Many businesses located near the protest sites were also impacted.
A day ago, the federal government reminded the provincial governments of Punjab to maintain law and order in their respective territories after protesters blocked highways leading to the federal capital at the edge of respective provinces.
However, reports were circulating that the PTI party decided to call off its protests but later, Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Jamshed Cheema categorically said that the party has not issued any directives to end their protest and blockade of key arteries heading to Islamabad. Cheema said that PTI will continue their protests across the country. PTI activists also blocked the road leading to the Islamabad International Airport (IIA) by placing tyres across it and setting them alight.
Earlier, the city traffic police in its press release said that Old Airport Road was blocked by protesters on both tracks. Due to the blockade, the traffic was diverted to alternative routes. It further said that Murree Road near Iqbal Park on both sides was blocked by protesters, while Pirwadhai Mor towards IJP road was also blocked.
The traffic police said that the GT Road near Margalla was blocked by
protesters, while Sarai Kala Chowk was also blocked.
The protests are causing huge snarl-ups on the roads of twin cities.
While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Interior Minister Rana
Sanaullah lashed out at PTI supporters who have closed M1 and M2 to
protest against Thursday’s gun attack on their leader Imran Khan.
He reminded the provincial governments that it was their responsibility
to keep the motorway open.
The provincial governments should fulfil their constitutional and legal
obligations, Sanaullah said warning that ‘I want to make it clear on
provincial governments that what these governments are doing, there is a
legal option available to deal with this’.
He requested the high courts in Peshawar and Lahore to take notice of
the matter. He said that creating difficulties for their own people,
was a foreign agenda. He castigated the KP and Punjab governments asking
them ‘don’t protect a few people on the roads, rather make them sprint
Sanaullah held that the PTI supporters were creating difficulties for
people. “People have rejected their Fitna march,” he maintained.
In another development yesterday, the interior minister also wrote two
identical letters to the KP and Punjab governments requesting them to
“immediately remove the protestors to restore smooth movement on
motorways, highways and link roads”.
He noted that this was not a long march rather the two provinces wanted
to invade the federation. NNI