ISLAMABAD: A number of restrictions were imposed in the federal capital as part of the security arrangements being made for the two-day visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
The security measures were taken in light of the directives issued by the interior ministry to the capital administration, officials of the administration and police said.
Hundreds of Saudi delegates accompanying the prince will land in the capital on multiple flights on Sunday.
The Expressway and Murree Road will be closed and will be used to transport the delegates.
Entry into the Red Zone is strictly restricted for the two days and people who wish to enter will have to provide documents saying they live or work there.
Entry into trail 2, 4 and 5 of the Margalla Hills has been banned for the two days and entry into Saidpur has been restricted to villagers who reside there or those who have to pass through to get to their villages in the hills.
A ban was imposed on pillion riding in the capital for the two days and the metro service will be closed from Blue Area to the Pak Secretariat.
A ban was imposed on the entry of heavy traffic in the capital during the prince’s stay and the Expressway will be closed to all types of traffic from Faizabad to Kural Chowk as will Murree Road from Faizabad to Kashmir Chowk.
Traffic police will be deployed to divert traffic onto alternative routes.
The capital has been put under high alert and deployments made at important installations including in and around the Red Zone, the VVIP delegate’s route and adjacent areas as well as the Margalla Hills.
Search and comb operations were conducted in the wooded areas and slums and such an operation will also be conducted in the hills.
Government hospitals have been put on high alert and paramilitary troops deployed there.
Rangers were deployed at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences on Friday, the hospital’s spokesperson Dr Wasim Khawaja said, adding that doctors were called for special duties for the two days.
An emergency ward has been put on standby and medicines and ambulances arranged.
A mock exercise was also conducted for bringing people to the hospital via helicopter.
The City Traffic Police have chalked out an alternative traffic plan with more than 160 traffic wardens being deployed to maintain traffic in the garrison city during the prince’s visit.
Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Mohammad bin Ashraf said 162 traffic police officials including one SP, three DSPs, 15 inspectors, 120 wardens and 23 traffic assistants would maintain traffic.
As part of the traffic and security plan, the old Airport Road will be closed for traffic on the eve of the arrival of the prince as the traffic will be diverted on other routes.
People have been asked to minimise their movement during the two days as the security in the twin cities would be on ‘high alert’.
The CTO said ambulances, government vehicles and fire brigade trucks would undergo a security check at police checkposts, while vehicles with black papers on their window glasses, and those plying without registration number plates will be impounded by police.
Motorists facing problems may contact traffic police helpline 051-9272839 for guidance round the clock.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2019