Islamabad under siege as government is reluctant to remove protesters

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Residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi suffer as religious party sit-in continues while government fails to resolve the issue

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The deadlock between the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and the protesters of Khatam-e-Nabuwat sit-in remain unresolved despite all efforts made by the government.

Even the first winter rain on Tuesday failed to drive away the hundreds of supporters of a religious party who have been staging a sit-in on the Faizabad intersection for a week now.

Around 2,000 protesters have been camping on the outskirts of the capital for several days. The capital is at a standstill as the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration officials engaged in parleys, trying to convince the protesters to agitate in the Parade Ground rather than in the Red Zone.

The rally has been organized by the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasoolallah (TLYR), which is a newly formed religious political party, gaining popularity among religious minded people.

The senseless protest has already taken the life of an eight-month-old child, who could not be taken to hospital in time for medical treatment because of the road blockades.

The rally started from Lahore and stayed in Rawat after getting the news that the capital administration and police erected barricades at the Soan River Bridge to stop the rally from entering into the twin cities. Later, they managed to enter the capital from Faizabad, and moved onto Murree Road and Islamabad Highway.

Due to this protest the government has blocked Jinnah Avenue with containers to keep the rally away since the organizers had announced they would storm the sensitive zone.

This siege has caused the worst traffic jam in the city and added to public woes. Metro Metro Bus service was also suspended which further created problems for hundreds of government employees whose offices are in Islamabad or in red zone.

The Sunni Tehreek spokesman Naeem Raza told media that the sit-in would continue till the resignation of the federal law minister. City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Israr Ahmed Abbasi held a meeting with protesters but failed to convince them to end the protest.

There have been some rumours that these religious groups are being propelled to dent the vote bank of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in the next general elections.

For now, the protesters and the reluctant attitude of government and Islamabad city officials is severely affecting the routine lives of citizens of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Sayyar Gul
Sayyar Gul is doing his MS Computational Sciences & Engineering from National University of Science and Technology. He is technology enthusiast with keen interest in new technological developments from around the world.

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