Friday September 29, 2023

Stringent security steps taken in Islamabad to tackle PTI march

The Islamabad police chief has submitted a comprehensive plan for checking the mob and demanded provision of more or less 25,000 force including constabularies

May 24, 2022
An Islamabad road being barricaded ahead of the PTIs long march. Photo: Screengrab of a Twitter video.
An Islamabad road being barricaded ahead of the PTI's long march. Photo: Screengrab of a Twitter video.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad police have finalised a comprehensive plan to check the movement of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists and keep them away from the federal capital, the people responsible for maintaining law and order in the Capital city told The News on Monday.

Following PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s announcement about his march on Islamabad and plans to stage a sit-in for an indefinite period of time, the government asked the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) to make a counter strategy to deal with the situation. Initially, the LEAs dismantled all camps set up by the opposition party well before the march on Islamabad.

The ministry sources said the Punjab administration would clamp down on the mob on its way to Islamabad. “The law-enforcement agencies would use all resources to stop the mob from moving towards Islamabad,” they added.

The Islamabad police chief has submitted a comprehensive plan for checking the mob and demanded provision of more or less 25,000 force including constabularies, anti-riots units, rangers, women commandos and anti-terrorism units from different provinces, with their complete command systems in his hands, sources told this correspondent.

At the initial stage, leaves of the police personnel have been cancelled, except for emergency cases. A notification in this regard has been issued by the police headquarters, saying, “All kinds of leaves, except emergency are banned (including station leave on gazetted holidays) from May 22, 2022 till further orders.”

The Islamabad police, after holding meetings with different law enforcement and intelligence agencies, decided to maintain peace at every cost, the sources said and added that the military troops could be called in to assist the civil administration keeping in view the law and order situation.

“Sort of anti-dharna force – comprising Rangers, Punjab Constabulary, police commandos, anti-terrorism squad and women commandos – would be constituted to clear the venue in Red Zone, especially around D-Chowk till National Assembly Square and entire Constitution Avenue would be cleared; however, the entry and exit traffic points would be closed to keep normality,” the sources said.

The interior ministry sources said, “According to the requirement, heavy forces of law-enforcement agencies would be requisitioned from different provinces to place at sensitive points including Red Zone and Diplomatic Enclave,” adding that about 22,000 personnel from different provinces would be call in to help the Islamabad police. They would include 8,000 cops of the Punjab Constabulary including 2,000 personnel of anti-riots unit, 2,000 personnel from Sindh, 500 women police commandos and an extra force of 4,000 personnel of rangers and other paramilitary forces have been requested to maintain law and order during the PTI march on Islamabad.

“For the possible detentions of ‘miscreants’, about 100 prisoner vans and 15,000 shells of teargas have been demanded by the law enforcement agencies to counter attempts of creating unrest in the city,” the ministry sources maintained.

The police officers visited the sensitive location of the Capital including the Red Zone, which has already been containerized and surrounded with barbed wires and the sensitive points entering from Rawalpindi or IJ Principal Road.

Newly appointed Inspector General of the Federal Capital Police Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, when contacted, said “Red Zone, especially the Diplomatic Enclave, would strongly be protected and the security of the most sensitive zone would not be compromised”.

The law-enforcement agencies have dismantled camps, installed by the PTI near ‘Bani Gala House’ to avoid any untoward incident as the intelligence agencies had declared those camps as security threat.

The PTI management affirmed that over 4,000 PTI activists could stay in those camps. Entire arrangement of security would be finalised by Tuesday, the sources concluded. Our correspondent adds from Lahore: The Lahore police launched crackdown on the PTI workers and leaders on Monday to stop them from moving to Islamabad in connection with party’s long march.

Heavy contingent of police reached the house of former federal minister Hammad Azhar on Canal Road. Police tried to barge into the house. Meanwhile, the police also conducted raid at the house of Hafiz Zeeshan Rasheed, who is the vice chairman of PHA, in Samanabad. Police have also been conducting raids at the houses of active members of the PTI. Hide-and-seek continued between the police and the PTI workers on Monday.