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PML-N warns of long march

June 10, 2012

RAWALPINDI, June 10: Without setting a deadline, the Punjab’s ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has warned the federal government of a looming long march on Islamabad over excessive power outages in the province.

“Listen Islamabad walahs, we are so sick of prolonged power outages that if smooth electric supply is not restored without any further delay, we, from all over the country will march towards Parliament House to force you meet our demands,” said MNAs Malik Shakeel Awan and Hanif Abbasi while addressing the rally organised by PML-N against the long hours of loadshedding which they said had made the life of common man miserable.

PML-N workers and supporters on Sunday brought out a rally against the hours-long power outages in the country. More than 2,000 PML-N workers and supporters gathered at Liaquat Bagh on the call of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to stage a demonstration and to mobilise the workers in order to highlight government’s inefficiency to resolve energy crisis.

The protesters, led by PML-N’s local legislators MNAs Malik Shakeel Awan, Hanif Abbasi; MPAs Shaheryar Riaz, Ziaullah Shah, Raja Hanif Advocate and Malik Ghulam Raza started the rally from Liaquat Bagh to reach the periphery of the federal capital – Faizabad.

They dispersed peacefully after blocking Islamabad Expressway for about an hour.

The PML-N workers burnt tyres at all the squares between Liaquat Bagh and Faizabad during the rally. Due to the protest, Benazir Bhutto Road remained blocked for hours.

The traders also closed their shops along the route of the rally. The party workers riding motorcycles and cars chanted slogans against the government and demanded provision of uninterrupted supply of electricity.

The rally disturbed vehicular movement on Benazir Bhutto Road, brought the traffic to a standstill on main link roads and the adjoining arteries in the downtown area for more than three hours. Long queues were witnessed during the rally. The traffic police failed to manage the smooth flow of traffic which resulted in a traffic mess and many people were seen quarreling either with traffic police personnel or other motorists.

“The traffic police failed miserably in performing their duty,” said Naseer Khan, a commuter who added that the protesters had informed the administration prior to the demonstration and it was the duty of the police to manage the flow of traffic, accordingly.

Another commuter, Asghar Malik, said the PML-N was protesting to resolve issues faced by the masses but was instead creating more problems for them. Some others even said all the politicians were the same.

Interestingly, the PML-N legislators contacted some private oil companies to get the petrol tanks of motorcycles and cars filled as most of  the filling stations remained closed in the city due to strike. However, sources claimed the local legislators also managed to get two petrol filling stations operational at Ratta Amral and Saddar so that the workers could join the rally.