The presence of the Bilawal House again caused extreme distress to the commuters in the area.
Around 3pm on February 18, the street connecting Shahrah-e-Firdousi (on which Park Towers is located), and the Marine Promenade that leads to Seaview, were blocked from both ends. The Sharah-e-Firdousi approach was rendered inaccessible by metal containers. People approaching from one end of the road were advised by the police to enter from the other end. When the commuters arrived at the directed entry point they were not allowed to enter from there either. It was a truly a theatre of the absurd!
I happened to be at the roadblock set-up by the police on the Marine Promenade end and witnessed angry exchanges between those trying to enter the street. The policemen present there kept repeating that the blockade was by the orders of the Superintendent of Police. When an angry lady demanded the telephone number of the concerned SP, the leader of the police contingent replied that he did not have it.
The traffic started to backup on the Marine Promenade as more and more vehicles were stopped. A number of angry commuters got out and had heated arguments with the police. Some of the commuters told the police that they lived on the street, while some said they were going to the South City Hospital. One angry lady openly cursed the President and shouted, “Does he not understand he has to die one day, so why is he making our lives difficult!”
She challenged the police, “What is the worse you can do to me, shoot me? Go ahead and do so!” Another lady insisted that the police have to remove the mobile that was blocking the road. When the police refused she threatened that she will push the mobile out of the way herself and she did try.
When the crowd got bigger and the arguments louder the police were forced to let some cars pass. The motorcycle and bicycle commuters did not get any much concession.
This kind of security is routine when the President is in town and it causes endless difficulties for the commuters and the residents of the area. This time though it was the worst witnessed in recent months. From the reaction of the hapless commuters, I can safely say that the President needs to have a top notch “curse remover” to protect him from the ill wishes that were hurled at him today.An angry lady arguing with the police. This lady told the police in no un-certain terms what she thought of the President of Pakistan. The law enforcers regarding this photographer with some suspicion. A riot like situation developed at the blockade. This brave lady was prepared to move the police mobile blocking the road by physical force. The motorcyclists had a snowflakes chance in hell to go past the blockade.
The author is an engineer turned part-time journalist who likes to hangout at unfashionable places like shrines, railway stations and bus stops.
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.