People protest at Parade Avenue Islamabad. Parliament buildings in the background. – Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory Administration on Saturday closed the Parade Avenue, also known as D-Chowk permanently for protest demonstrations, warning for action against those holding such gathering there in future.

“No protest demonstration would be allowed at D-Chowk in future. The venue has been closed down in pursuance of the federal government's decision,” Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amer Ahmed Ali told APP.

The administration has placed concrete barricades at the intersection and affixed barbed wires there to keep the protestors away.

He said Section 144 is already imposed in federal capital, so the protestors gathering there at the D-Chowk would have to face action under the same law.

He said the city administration has already specified Fatima Jinnah Park for the protest demonstrations where the protestors would be provided all possible facilities.

The deputy commissioner said the growing number of protests at D-Chowk had been raising security concerns for being located very close to the high profile buildings at Constitution Avenue.

He said besides security threats, such gatherings were becoming nuisance for the residents as massive traffic jams used to be witnessed across the city in case of such gatherings.

Hundreds of the citizens and employees moving to and from Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Pakistan Television, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Awami Markaz, Pak Secretariat, private offices and residential area of Gulshan-e-Jinnah in sector F-5/I.

Amer Ahmed Ali said the city administration has taken this decision witnessing the potential threats posed by the prolonged stay of protestors at the D-Chowk as some groups stayed there for even months.

When questioned whether any government representative would reach the protestors at Fatima Jinnah Park to know their grievances, he said they used to attend protestors at D-Chowk, National Press Club and Abpara and they would do the same at the new venue.

Additional Deputy Commissioner General Islamabad Farasat Khan said only Parade Avenue has been closed for protest demonstrations as protest gatherings are yet permitted at other locations.

He said though some civil society organisations hold protest demonstrations there at F-9 Park, it would take sometime to persuade the potential groups to gather there.

The trend to hold protest demonstrations at D-Chowk got momentum during the lawyers' movement in 2007 who used to gather there demanding restoration of superior judiciary “Thanks God, this venue has been closed down. We had been demanding this step since long as frequent protests had been marring our businesses,” said Hamid Arsalan, a trader in Blue Area.

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Comments (1) (Closed)


Sultan
Apr 16, 2012 05:21pm
O well!! seems like even the voice of the protesters now irritates the ministers. Why don't these ministers bring their parents to the parliament to feel the comfort (You know maa ki goud mein thandak milti hai)!! I was there and there was no traffic jam, all the traffic was taking other routes. D-Chawk is always closed like it was on Friday its just that some people do not want to listen what they have been doing with a certain community. If you want peace at D chowk take some steps in a way that the protesters leave the place willingly. No doubt that one day Allah will ask these ministers how had they been using their powers and how cruel they had been with people. InshAllah.