Uncertainty took its toll as businesses in Islamabad and Rawalpindi were left blemished during the dharna by Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR). Some businessmen opened their stores on the operation day but saw very few customers as entry into the cities were blocked by protesters. However the situation is getting back to normal as sit-in comes to an end.
As a result of occluded roads, most preferred to stay at homes over the course of sit-in. Public transport owners also aggravated the situation as drivers decided against taking out their vehicles on roads.
Major roads including Ninth Avenue, Murree Road and Islamabad Expressway remained blocked as authorities continued their operation on Sunday. The operation was carried out against a sit-in by the religious party which left 150 people injured and six protesters dead.
Businesses in twin cities suffered as little or no customers were seen on the roads during the course of sit-in.
Most of markets including Saddar, Sixth Road Electronic Market, Raja Bazar and Satellite Town remained opened, however, due to blockages few customers went for shopping. School-going students and office employees also went through tough times as traffic remained jam-packed during the whole demonstration.
Muhammad Nasir Mirza, Senior Vice President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) made his frustrations known saying,
When all the roads are closed, how will the customers reach the markets to shop?
He also blamed the government for not handling the protestors well as shopkeepers had been suffering the most since the beginning of the sit-in.
Markets in areas including I-8, Faizabad and Shamsabad remained closed on the operation day that was carried out on 26 November.
Islamabad Mostly Unaffected
However, the situation wasn’t as bad for markets in some areas of Islamabad as their business remained about the same even on the operation day. There were ups and downs over the sit-in time but mostly businesses continued their activities in the Capital.
Sunday Bazars in Islamabad seemed unaware of the ongoing situation as people in large numbers continued to shop. Jinnah Super Market and Centaurus mall also remained unperturbed by the situation.
Customers who managed to reach markets somehow didn’t seem happy to hear the rates of goods. A sudden hike in prices was seen as the protests in twin cities blocked the supply of materials.
Poultry rates increased to Rs. 160 per kg from Rs. 120.
The rates are likely to come down as major entry points in city are cleared of any obstructions. The supply of materials that was blocked will be restored soon.
The government and TLYR reached an agreement and the protest is expected to come to an end soon. The move will result in restoration of businesses which were halted in most areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
The roads leading to the twin cities have started to open up slowly as life is getting back to normal. Government has given the protesters 12 hours to clear the roads.