With Musharraf in Zamzama, Chak Shahzad struggles for normalcy


ISLAMABAD: Traffic on the Park Road of Chak Shahzad is in full gear now. No lazy, obese police cop manning checkposts with bizarre road blocks bother them anymore. The questionable, ugly structure hurried built for the machine-gun wielding cop stands deserted. The battery of television channels is missing as well.
The road linking Park Road with the Farm House has opened for its rightful users, who own vast farm houses as the Moroccan style villa lays empty. A dozen laid back policemen still remain to watch for any al Qaeda or Taliban bomb-plotter or suicide bomber.
The road to the farm houses has opened after almost a year. A few weeks after Musharraf moved to the villa, built in violation of CDA bylaws in a farm house, the right of way was denied to over 2,000 residents of the area.
“Instead of a 10-minute walk, I had to drive for over half an hour to reach my home from my office on the Park Road,” says Usman Ahmad, who lives a kilometer away from Musharraf’s villa.
“Like me, hundreds of residents affected by the blockade of link road had to take a long detour via Chak Shahzad to reach home, often using dirt road,” he explains. Rangers posts set up inside Nishtar family’s farm house, which had sold a piece of their land to the former dictator, are also gone. There’s a visible sense of relief amongst the residents of the area.
“We spent a year in enormous insecurity. Everyone feared a suicide attack or car bomb which might have taken the toll on our ordinary homes than his fort-like abode,” says Manzoor Hussain.
A local police officer could not hide the relief he has received with Musharraf’s departure from Chak Shahzad.
“My staff was demoralized and over-worked. Our job to provide security had increased manifold but the staff more than halved,” he explains.
Owners of nearby farmhouses bore the brunt of the nuisance. One of them, requesting anonymity, says, “How could the court declare his home a sub-jail in total disregards for my rights and many others who live here? It was an infringement of citizens’ rights to close down a road only to protect someone facing treason charges.”
However, he hopes that the government won’t let him fly out of Pakistan until the court decides his fate.
The National Agriculture Research Center had to sacrifice part of its botanical garden where security personnel parked their vehicles and worked in a part-time office.  They had “no option but to cooperate as the matter was sub judice.”
Some residents believe that the situation turned worse when the general was released on bail and the sub jail status was lifted. He, then, became a bigger liability for the security and intelligence personnel.
“Their numbers increased as did the general’s visitors, causing greater inconvenience to the area,” says Lehrasib, who works in one of the farms neighboring Musharraf’s villa.
Now that the nuisance is no more, it’ll still require time for life to return to normalcy. There are greater odds ahead for populace of Zamzama as capitali’ites are quite used to of such intrusions. The district won’t be the same, at least in the near future. No civic bodies but only the courts can safeguard against infringement of people’s fundamental rights.

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Aaj Kal