ISLAMABAD: Though two companies from the army’s 111 Brigade have moved into the capital, they are yet to be assigned any duty in the absence of a plan to utilise their services, Dawn has learnt from officials in various departments.
The arrival of the two companies in the capital city on Sunday evening was in addition to the contingent of troops already stationed at the President House, Sports Complex, Shakarparian heliport and the E-11 sector.
On Saturday, police officers met senior commanders of the 111 Brigade in Rawalpindi to devise a plan to deploy the armymen in order to meet any security situation in the wake of the military operation in North Waziristan.
“There is no requisition from the district administration for the army and neither the police made such a request,” the officials added, adding the decision to send the army to Islamabad was taken at the highest level.
A number of meetings were held between senior officers of the capital police and the army but the final decision to deploy the troops is yet to be made.
Final decision about their deployment is yet to be taken
The capital police needed the army for patrolling and other duties.
There is a proposal to get their help for the security of installations of the armed forces, the Red Zone and Margalla Hills adjacent to the high security zone. The troops would be sought for deployment at important pickets and for patrolling, they added.
A joint control and command room will also be established for better coordination between the police and the troops.
The army would assist the capital police in intelligence gathering about the presence of militants in the city.
After finalising the plan, a formal requisition for the army will be issued from the district administration. There is a strong possibility that the army will also be given the police power so that they can take action against suspected terrorists and raid their hideouts.
As a part of the enhanced security, the capital police have also decided to close some entrances to the Red Zone on a temporary basis. They also have sealed some of the 164 entry points of the city.
However, 39 pickets are still being operated by about 468 personnel. About 459 personnel of the Rangers and 354 of the Islamabad police and Punjab Elite Force are patrolling in 26 vehicles in the city.
They have also set up 21 random pickets in different parts of the city.
In the meantime, the capital police and Haripur police have established two joint pickets on the Margallah Hills where more such posts would be set up soon.
In another move, the interior ministry gave supervisory role to the Rangers in the joint patrolling with the capital police, putting the police under its command.
The decision was taken to avoid any resentment among the paramilitary troops to work under the command of the police.
The officials said Tarnol and Bhara Kahu were considered potential threats as in the recent past a number of suspected terrorists were arrested from these localities. Similarly, there are about 14 illegal slums which needed to be removed as militants can use them as hideouts, they added.
When contacted, SSP Islamabad Mohammad Ali Nekokara said: “We are coordinating with the army. Due to the current situation, the coordination is happening on a regular basis. We are also sharing intelligence and security details with each other.”
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2014