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October 22, 2019

Arrests begin ahead of Azadi March

Top Story

October 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The federal government would block all entry points to stop the participants of JUI-F-led Azadi March from entering Islamabad.

A central control room has been set up in the interior ministry that would ensure implementation of the security plan in line with the directions of the highest authorities, sources told The News on Monday.

The interior ministry has prepared a tentative plan to deal with the march participants, and initial directions have been given to the relevant officials in this respect.

According to the tentative plan, all entry points of Islamabad would be completely blocked before October 27 by placing shipping containers, placing barbed wires and deploying large numbers of policemen.

“Attock Bridge and GT Road at Rawat would also be blocked to ensure that the participants of the Azadi March from other parts of the country would not move towards the federal capital,” the sources said.

They said 500 shipping containers would be provided to the Islamabad Police right before October 27 and it was likely to fill them with goods so that it would be difficult for the protesters to remove them from roads.

“Containers would also be placed at different locations to seal the Red Zone including the Secretariat Chowk, Ayub Chowk, Aga Khan Road, PTV Chowk, France Chowk, Constitution Avenue, Radio Pakistan Chowk, Serena Chowk and Margallah Road,” the sources said.

The police would also beequipped with gas masks, tear-gas launchers and shells along with batons, helmets, riot jackets, shields and shin guards. The residents of other cities, including Rawalpindi, would not be allowed to enter Islamabad. The residents of Rawalpindi who work at the government and private offices in Islamabad will have to show their office cards for entry.

Police enforcements would also be acquired from the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and they would camp at the government buildings, including Sports Complex, Community Centre, National Library and Police Lines. “The interior ministry will seek additional funds from the federal government to meet the expenses incurred on the accommodation of police from other provinces,” the sources said.

The police have already warned crane owners, hardware stores owners and others dealing in catering/tent services, hotels, motels and guest houses against providing services to the march participants. In a related development, ban on Ansar-ul-Islam — supposedly the JUI-F militant wing — would be put in place this week, probably on October 26, after approval from the prime minister, the interior ministry sources said on Monday.

Sources told The News that the interior ministry had forwarded a summary to the prime minister for banning Ansar-ul-Islam and after its approval the ban would be put in place this week.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police have launched a crackdown on the people involved in promoting the sit-in and Azadi March drive and booked dozens of people from the Shams Colony and Industrial Area under 188 PPC.

The police said JUI-F leaders Maulana Shafi-ur-Rehman, resident of Shams Colony, and Maulana Mohammad Irshad, resident of Qasimabad, Rawalpindi, were found displaying banners and posters along with around 20 activists in Shams Colony. The police intercepted them and arrested three leaders while the activists managed to escape.

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