Islamabad protest enters its 17th day due to government’s failure to remove the protestors, making citizens suffer
The continuing protest by religious parties in the capital city Islamabad entered its 17th consecutive day on Wednesday, blocking Faizabad and causing traffic mess in Islamabad despite notice by the Supreme Court.
The protest has cost the Islamabad police over Rs120 million so far, and this amount is only expected to increase with no end in sight.
The police force is also enduring physical threats as at least four security personnel were injured on 22 November when the protesters staging a sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange resorted to pelting stones at security forces deployed in the area. Four FC and police personnel, including SP Saddar Amir Niazi, were injured.
The protesters belong to several religious groups led by “Tehreek Labbiak Ya Rasool Ullah”, a recently emerged party by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a firebrand orator and founder of the group.
Despite a notice by the Pakistan Supreme Court, various deadlines and extensions from Ministry of Interior the protestors continue to block the twin cities in hopes of realizing their long list of demands.
The people of Islamabad mainly blame the government and city administration for their reluctance to remove the protestors and clear the huge containers off the roads.
According to news reports, Islamabad police has been delaying payments to vendors for various services provided to the force, as well as for the facilities provided to reserve personnel called in from the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and Punjab Constabulary (PC). The problem was also raised and discussed with senior officers but the finance ministry has not released the fund.
The religious parties have been protesting against the change in the finality of Prophethood oath in the law when the government passed the Elections Act 2017 last month. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later.
The protest has resulted in severe issues for residents of the capital and Rawalpindi who face traffic jams and mobility issues on a daily basis. At least two casualties due to ambulances being unable to cross the protesters have also been reported.
According to sources the so far, the food bill for personnel from the capital police, FC and PC had reached the Rs55m mark and on average, a shift consists of 3,000 personnel to 7,000 personnel.
Also Security forces acquired 200 containers to block roads as part of security measures, and their rent has risen above Rs30million along with five cranes and 10 trailers were hired to move the containers, while 19 water tankers – 15 water takers to refill water cannons and four to supply drinking water to on-duty personnel, had also been hired.