Rawalpindi : The blockade of roads in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has started taking its toll as traders dealing in basic commodities have increased their prices citing a disruption in the supply chain for the past few days.
The prices of almost all eatables particularly vegetables, milk, atta, chicken, and meat witnessed a 20 per cent hike on Thursday. The shopkeepers are also facing a shortage of branded and local items like washing powder, toothpaste, tetra pack milk, dry milk, pampers, ghee/cooking oil, sugar, and several other items due to the closure of all exit and entry points. Atta, sugar, and different kinds of pulses were not available here at government-run Utility Stores Corporation (USC) stores due to suspension of supply.
The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) Regional Manager (Rawalpindi) Raja Zulqarnan told ‘The News’ that supply of items would start after re-opening of all roads. He has admitted that consumers are facing a shortage of ‘Atta, ghee/cooking oil, etc.
The traders in Fruits and Vegetables Market, I-11 Islamabad are also facing a shortage of fruits and vegetables. As over 70 per cent of milk comes to the twin cities from far-off areas like Sargodha, Sahiwal, Bhalwal, and some other Central Punjab areas the milk traders could not reach Rawalpindi and Islamabad due to blockades of all entry and exit points for over two days.
The price of 1-kilogram tomato has jumped up by Rs70 in two days and they are being sold at Rs120 against Rs50. 1-kilogram potatoes at Rs80 against Rs60, onion at Rs60 against Rs45, Garlic at Rs500 against Rs400, ginger at Rs300 against Rs200.
Like the rest of Punjab, the local administration of Rawalpindi also deployed Rangers at Shamsabad, Faizabad, Rehmanabad, Sixth Road, Koral Chowk, and Rawal Road on Thursday.
Some petrol pumps have been closed due to the shortage of fuel because supply vehicles could not reach the city areas here on Thursday.
The local administrations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad closed all entry and exit points with heavy containers, trucks, and trailers to thwart a possible protest of banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP), creating the worst kind of difficulties for common citizens forcing people from different walks of life to wander here and there in search of ways to reach their destinations but in vain.
The local administrations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad also blocked T-Chowk, Soan Bridge, Tarnol, and Kashmir Highway. The concerned authorities also stopped all kinds of movement here at Gujar Khan, Chak Beli Khan Road, Kallar Syedan Road, and Chakwal Road. The government has directed to stop TLP protesters at Jhelum.
Pedestrians could not move easily due to the closure of all entry and exit points around the twin cities. The office goers and school-going children could not reach their destinations due to road blockades. There was a thin presence of students in private and public educational institutions because parents were worried due the situation. Some private schools have announced holidays due to the unrest situation in Rawalpindi.
The routine of Rawalpindi and Islamabad came to a standstill. The shops and markets on Murree Road from Saddar to Faizabad, Raja Bazaar, City Saddar Road, Peshawar Road besides internal link roads remained closed throughout the day. As part of the security step, the network signals in some of the sensitive areas were also suspended on Thursday. While motorcyclists either manoeuvred through the parked trucks or wriggled under them to cross the blockades at Liaquat Road, Double Road, Murree Road, Rawal Road, Tipu Road, and Rashid Minhas Road to reach their destinations as offices in twin cities are open and people have no option but to join them fearing reprimand from higher-ups.
Metro Bus Service (MBS) here in Rawalpindi and Islamabad from Saddar to IJP Metro Station on IJ Principal Road was suspended while private service vehicles (PSVs) were also short on all routes due to a fearful situation. A heavy contingent of police was present in every nook and corner of the city to control the law and order situation. All metro stations were packed with well-equipped police officials on the occasion.
According to the official spokesman of the City Traffic Officer (CTO), we have closed all entry and exit points here in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Motorists should use some alternative routes to approach Islamabad.
The train schedule in Rawalpindi Railway Station has been completely disturbed due to an unrest situation in the country. The concerned management of Rawalpindi Railway Station has canceled the majority of trains due to the law and order situation in the country.
Not only Faizabad Interchange but the whole Rawalpindi city resembled the ‘Red Zone’ where officials of law enforcement agencies completely occupied it from all sides. The motorists coming from Murree, Lahore, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not reach Faizabad because all ways were completely closed from all sides.
All kinds of common and serious patients could not reach hospitals. Even ambulances could not reach hospitals due to blockages of all entry and exit points.
The government had impounded hundreds of containers, trucks, and trailers for some days to block the entry and exit points of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
On the other hand, containers, truck, and trailer owners have strongly protested against the government for forcefully impounding their containers for over six days. The drivers and conductors said that some of the containers were filled with eatables but the government was not considering the problems of poor people. A few days back, local administrations ordered us to open all roads but were not allowed to go to our homes.
The residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have appealed to the government to settle down this issue otherwise it would create a law and order situation throughout the country.