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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior on Thursday banned unnecessary hurdles in the traffic flow during VVIP movements in the capital city.

A handout issued by the ministry said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had directed the police to make the security of VVIPs more effective by using modern techniques instead of deploying its manpower on roads.

The deployment of policemen on roads for the VVIP security for hours under the scorching heat and extreme cold is unfair, he added.

An official of the ministry, when contacted, said the minister issued the directions after it came to his knowledge that policemen remained deployed on roads two to three hours prior to any VVIP movement. “In some cases the policemen remained deployed on roads from morning to night,” he added.

The minister asked the police to use modern techniques instead of its manpower. The police should monitor the VVIP route through CCTV cameras and increase its patrolling.

A police officer told Dawn that roads were blocked a couple of minutes before a VVIP movement. Besides, the deployment of police was made on both sides of the road.

Such measures were adopted in 2005 or 2006 and later tightened and strengthened. He said according to rules a VVIP is either the president, prime minister or a foreign head of state.

Protective arrangements will vary according to whether the VVIP visit is ordinary or ceremonial. For ceremonial visits when big crowds are expected at certain places, an additional posse of police force will be posted to control the crowd and keep the road free for the VVIP. Precautionary measures vary according to circumstances, he added.

One-way traffic could be totally blocked during a VVIP movement. Since the chief justice of Pakistan is not assigned the status of a VVIP, blocking of traffic during his movement is a violation of rules, he added.

The law states that the duration of the traffic blockade to allow the passage of the VVIP motorcade will not exceed two minutes. Only one side of the road will be blocked while the traffic coming from the opposite side on a dual carriageway will continue to flow.

When the motorcade catches up with a slow-moving traffic on the same side of the route, the pilot of the motorcade will ensure clearance of one lane for the movement of the VVIP.

He said judges of superior judiciary, including the chief justice of Pakistan, parliamentarians, governors, chief ministers and advisers fall in the list of VIPs but some of them were enjoying the VVIP route protocol.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2017