ISLAMABAD, Nov 19: If you are planning to travel to Islamabad for the next three days and thinking of staying at a five-star hotel here, the advisory by hotel managers is that you should postpone the trip.
Hotels in the capital city are booked to their capacity as participants from the Developing-8 (D-8) countries are arriving here for the summit.
The federal government has already booked almost all the key hotels like Marriott and Serena along with a number of others along Islamabad Club Road.
Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Egypt are the members of the forum.
An official of the federal government said D-8 leaders, exhibitors and business delegates and representatives of local trade bodies, members of diplomatic corps and local businessmen were attending the summit and sideline seminars and other gatherings.
“We have booked almost every room along with executive and presidential suites for the head of states and other dignitaries,” said one hotel management official.
He observed that such conferences and events always provided them a better business earning opportunity since “you can earn good revenue during such events besides the government clears your payments without much delays.”
Another five-star hotel sales executive said: “We are booked to our capacity and have no vacant rooms for the next five days.”
She said: “We are forced to refuse a number of bookings in the hotel besides cancelling reservations of halls since the halls are now being used by D-8 dignitaries for different events like business and trade discussions and mini-forums.”
Nasir Maqsood, a multinational company’s business executive, said: “My reservation was put on hold by a five-star hotel; however, my staff managed to get rooms at a local hotel which is an average one.”
He said he had to shift a meeting to a restaurant since all halls in the major hotels were booked.
A police official, who used to collect record from hotels about their guests, observed: “I have seen an increase in the number of guests in all the hotels and guesthouses in F-7 and F-8.”
He said it was unusual that guests stayed in guesthouses because in routine they stayed at four- and five-star hotels.
It may be noted that a number of elite hotels in the city also have private guesthouses and in case of full-capacity booking they divert their clients towards the guesthouses located in residential areas.
Meanwhile, the police security division is considering moving the venue of the D-8 summit to be held on November 22 to the Presidency to ensure safety of the head of states and members of their delegations. A police officer requesting not to be identified said Pak-China Centre was selected for the D-8 summit and exhibitions. “Because of processions of Muharram, security concerns have been increased. So it has been decided by the security division that the Presidency will be the venue of the summit,” added the police officer.
However, ASI Farid, from the security division, said final decision about shifting of the summit venue would be taken on Tuesday.
As many as 2,500 officials of law enforcement agencies have been deputed and roads leading to Red Zone blocked with containers.
The police officer said 2,500 officials, including personnel of Rangers, Frontier Constabulary, special branch and police commandos, have been deputed for the security.
Besides, a ban has been imposed on traveling of the public without CNIC in Islamabad. Moreover, addresses, names of drivers and their vehicle numbers are being recorded at all the entry points of the city, he said.
Superintendent of Police (SP) City Mohammad Ilyas while talking to Dawn said on the instructions of the security division, around 2,500 officials had been deputed around the Red Zone.
The police have also imposed a ban on the entry of heavy traffic and construction work in Red Zone till Nov 25. The entry of the public into the high security area has also been banned.