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Supporters of Tahirul Qadri read newspapers in the early morning on their third day of protests in Islamabad, Jan 16, 2013. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Jan 15: According to agency reports, the Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) as of January 15, 2013 might not have crossed the 100,000 mark but the thousands of protesters have begun polluting the city in an unprecedented way, leaving residents bitter.

Adding to the bitterness is suspension of cellphone services, low turnout in offices and unavailability of public transport.

Polluting marchers

The complication according to an official arose when TMQ — after deciding to violate the code of conduct reached with the local administration — decided to shift to D-Chowk, from the Saudi Pak Tower location.

According to city officials, toilet arrangements were made on both sides of G-7 and F-7 – around Saudi Pak Tower area – but after the venue shifted to D-Chowk protesters started using greenbelts as toilets.

Imtiaz Ahmed, a resident, who visited D-Chowk, said: “It is the right of every person to record his/her protest but they should also keep the cleanliness of the city in mind because participants of the long march will leave within a few days, leaving all the mess for residents to clean.”

The resident added that TMQ should have given hygiene training to participants before the protest, as it claims to have educated members in the organisation.

“Cleanliness is part of faith, therefore workers of the party should have collected wrappers strewn around the venue,” Mr Ahmed suggested.

Aurangzeb Khan, resident of sector G-7, said that he was in favour of the long march because the government had failed to solve the issues of the people. But after the marchers arrived, he was disappointed, as they began violating environmental laws of the city.

“All over the world, city administrations impose fines on littering and citizens also show responsibility but here both administration and participants of the march did not bother to keep the city clean,” he said.

“Participants should use public toilets,” Mr Khan urged, adding, “municipal authorities should also provide facilities because if the sit-in continues for several days, residents of the federal capital will suffer.”

On the other hand, Dilshad Ahmed, a participant of the long march while talking to Dawn, said that he did not see anything odd in using the greenbelt as a public bathroom.

“Our forefathers had been using fields and it also increases fertility of the land,” Mr Ahmed said while offering a justification.

However, a protester Adnan Kiyani, who was standing in a long queue at a public toilet in F-6, said that the government should have provided basic facilities.

“Blue Area is a busy place but relevant departments did not bother to construct toilets. People have no choice but to use green belts. That is why we say that the government has failed,” he said.

Media coordinator of TMQ, Ghulam Ali Khan said: “It was the responsibility of CDA to clean the area but after the government withdrew security, CDA officials abandoned the area.”However, Mr Ali was hopeful that the CDA would do the cleanup after the marchers left.

Unavailability of services

Residents of the federal capital have been suffering for the last two days because of unavailability of public transport and continuous suspension of mobile phone services.

Mohammad Bilal, who was standing at a bus stop in I-9, said that he wanted to go to the hospital because his wife was admitted but even after waiting for an hour, there was no sign of public transport.

On the other hand, taxi drivers had jacked up their prices. “Luckily I hitched a ride with a commuter,” he said.

Attendance at public offices also remained low.

A resident of Islamabad, Saeed Ahmed, said: “On Tuesday, I went to a private hospital in sector H-8 for unstitching but they said that there was no surgeon available in the hospital. So I had to go to Pims but OPD was closed. I will go there again on Wednesday,” he said.

Updated Jan 15, 2013 09:24pm

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Comments (15) (Closed)


Ehsan
Jan 16, 2013 09:12am
In spite of helping them out, they are complaining of polluting the city....tell me one thing that are they only who need change or the whole country? When will this nation rise?
Cyrus Howell
Jan 16, 2013 08:50am
"...protesters have begun polluting the city in an unprecedented way, leaving residents bitter." Islamabad meets the people! Here is a perspective. Islamabad is littered with rubbish. Damascus is littered with dead bodies. Islamabad is not Karachi - not yet - but it could be. It very well could be.
Sal
Jan 16, 2013 09:50am
These people have no respect for keeping their country clean and they expect us to have respect for them!
Malik Arif
Jan 16, 2013 10:26am
.....God save country from such opportunists like Musharraf, TUQ, Imran Khan who could not win even a single seat in election but gathering people as "daily wager" and getting media attention. It was Mush who push the country into this situation!
Zain
Jan 17, 2013 05:55am
No offence, but it was Musharraff who flourished the economy at one time. Firstly, even after five years there are no corruption charges against him. Secondly, Imran Khan, sir you have surprised me to the max, and the dislikes are evident too. Can you take a moment and see the figures for debts and corruption this country is facing? Stop being biased, and think logically. I apologies if my argument will hurt you in anyway.
Adil Jadoon
Jan 17, 2013 03:03pm
It is the PPP/PML duo who are ultimately responsible for this and PTI will win a lot of seats this year and be a force for good in politics.
James Jackson
Jan 16, 2013 11:15am
When Indian defecates in field, you label it as "open defecation. When Pakistanis do it, you call it "greenbelt defecation."........
Blitzer
Jan 16, 2013 10:58am
Mr. Shah, if there are not enough toilets (temporary or permanent) available, the protestors would surely use the greenbelts to relieve themselves or do you seriously expect them to hold it all in till they leave the march?
Riz M
Jan 16, 2013 12:26pm
And what has the current government done then in past 5 years? Taken it further down the torrid path!
Raja Pakistani
Jan 17, 2013 03:29am
There is difference. They are offering natural fertilizers hence the term greenbelt defacation... Indian on the other hands do it anywhere and everywhere, without regard to environment... LoL
Sufi Shah
Jan 16, 2013 04:27pm
I agree. You don't expect them to defect if there aren't enough loos.
malik
Jan 16, 2013 03:05pm
I wonder if the educated people of Pakistan who studied in institutions paid by these same uneducated masses ever served and paid off their debt before leaving for greener pastures overseas, left any criteria for educating the same masses. Its easy to pass the buck. Are you in the same hole as are the masses or are you in a warm and cuddly place just passing random thoughts.
v
Jan 16, 2013 08:00pm
That drop was caused by your celebrated SC issuing an arrest warrant to your sitting PM. Don't tell me you think your Supreme Court is a western stooge, because if so, best of luck to you.
Amir Bangash
Jan 16, 2013 02:29pm
These western stooges leave no stone unturn to destabilize the country by conducting unnecessary protests to derail the little democratic system restored in Pakistan after lot of efforts. Just in a single day the KSE has lost 500 points due to political turmoils.
Asad Ali Shah
Jan 16, 2013 08:26am
Irony is that these people with hardly any basic toilet training are out there to decide the fate of the rest of the 18 million people!