GUJRAT: The prolonged preservation of the crime scene of the gun attack on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in Wazirabad is adversely affecting the businesses of traders, industrialists and bank branches.

Even after two visits by the joint investigation team (JIT) at the Wazirabad crime scene, a track along the dual carriageway of old GT Road is still barricaded by tents and being safeguarded with the deployment of a heavy contingent of police and Elite Force commandos.

The local authorities say the area may get cleared after yet another visit by the JIT in the next couple of days.

Scores of traders and managements of some branches of banks held meetings with the administration and police higher-ups during the last week to persuade them to remove the container of the PTI chairman and other barriers from the scene as their routine businesses had been paralysed for the last couple of weeks.

A delegation of local bankers had earlier called on Gujrat District Police Officer Ghazanfar Shah (who also holds the additional charge of Wazirabad DPO) and apprised him of the difficulties they had been facing, as well as the concerns of the clients, especially cutlery exporters.

Similarly, the owners of commercial buildings, shopkeepers and residents of the particular locality have shared their hardships with the local authorities due to the blockade of the road leading to their places.

The businessmen have urged Chief Minister Parvez Elahi to order the removal of hurdles.

Official sources said a sizeable workforce of the local police and Elite Force had been engaged to perform the duty at the crime scene. A team of forensic experts collected the evidence within 24 hours. Wazirabad DSP Malik Aamir told Dawn that the authorities were aware of the situation but the crime scene could not be cleared without the orders of the JIT. He said the JIT might visit the scene on Monday after which the area would be cleared as he had brought the situation into the notice of the JIT head.

Another senior police officer said that delay in the formation of the JIT and then frequent changes prolonged the process. Meanwhile, Umar Sarfraz Cheema, adviser to the chief minister on home department, on Saturday visited Wazirabad city and went to the residence of PTI worker Moazzam Gondal who died in a bid to overpower the attacker in the rally. He condoled with the family and commended the sacrifice of the party worker.

Mr Cheema also visited the houses of two other party workers who suffered injuries in the Wazirabad attack.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2022

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