Saleem Khattak, the last man still standing for 30 minutes every week for the Kashmir issue as per the Government of Pakistan initiative, was asked to sit down by a traffic constable in Islamabad.
Saleem, a voter of the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Prime Minister Imran Khan, took to standing for 30 minutes every Friday with a smattering of crowd from his neighbourhood back in August, 2019, when the government had first started the initiative.
“Back then, there were several people, like all of Street 101 and 102. The menfolk anyway,” he said. “Then the shopkeepers from the Allah Wali Marker, which is our sub-sector market. Some from the Markaz also came a couple of times, but they had their own thing after that.”
“The numbers just kept coming down,” he said. “Till there was just Siddiqui Uncle and Tikoo. And then, not even them.”
“Yes, I asked him to sit down,” said ASI Ghulaam Hussein of the Islamabad Traffic Police. “Not because he was obstructing the traffic. The fellow remains off the road anyway.”
“I was just feeling sorry for him, the poor thing,” he said.
The Foreign Office has criticised the incident. “If we cannot get support from within the country,” said Aisha Farooqui, FO spokesperson. “Then what hope do we have with the international community?”