- Multiple protests across twin cities bring life to a halt
ISLAMABAD: Protestors hailing from various religious parties have brought the capital to a halt by blocking main roads and city arteries as they protest Aasiya Bibi’s acquittal in the aftermath of Supreme Court’s (SC) verdict regarding her case.
Protestors hailing from Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) and Sunni Tehreek gathered at Aabpara Market, Faizabad Interchange, Blue Area, IJP Road, Kashmir Highway, National Press Club, Shakrial, Bara Kahu and other areas. They chanted slogans against the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) and the bench that pronounced the verdict comprising of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.
The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus connecting the twin cities was closed, the Diplomatic and Red Zone were sealed by the police whereas, additional forces of rangers were debuted at the entry and exit points of Islamabad.
As the protestors gathered at main points across the city, students and employees left their schools and offices earlier than closing time. Massive traffic was seen on the roads as people tried to avoid religious zealots.
“We have vacated and deterred the protestors from Bara Kahu, Aab Para, and Kashmir Highway,” said Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hamza Shafqaat while talking to Pakistan Today.
Shafqaat said that the district administration is currently devising a strategy to a vacate Faizabad Interchange and ensure free travel for denizens of the capital. “We’ll try our best to ensure that citizenry does not suffer at the hands these protestors,” he concluded.
Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and polyclinic hospitals have been put on alert while the leaves of all paramedical staff have been cancelled or postponed to deal with any possible emergency situation; however, the government has yet to make a decision pertaining to the closure of educational institutes in the federal capital.
The students and staffers of educational institutions reported going through a great ordeal to reach to their destinations due to the closure of main roads. Furthermore, examination papers in Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and National University of Modern Languages (NUML) were also postponed because of the protestors.
The AIOU has rescheduled the papers that were to be held on Wednesday on January 8, 2019; however, the NUML administration has yet to give a rescheduled date for the exams.
All educational institutions in the capital have yet to make announcements regarding the closures and postponement of the papers as they are waiting for the situation to unfold further so that they may make a decision accordingly.
Private School Network (PSN) President Dr Muhammad Afzal informed that any decision regarding the closure of the private schools has not been made as institutions are waiting for a circular from the government. He complained of transport problems being faced by students because of the religious protestors so, there is a possibility that some schools might be closed.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) spokesperson Dr Wasim Khwaja said that the hospital has been put on high alert and extra beds have been placed to cope with any untoward situation. He said that there would be red alert until the situation normalises.
Furthermore, rangers will take over the Supreme Court’s security at 11 pm and nobody including the officials of all state institutions as well as officials of secret agencies would be allowed to enter the SC without a special pass. The hearing of all the important cases would begin after 9 am.
Maintainenace of Public Order (MPO) Section-16 has been imposed across the country about which the ulemas have been made aware.
Co-authored by Hamid Khan Wazir