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ISLAMABAD: At least 1,650 security officials have been deployed within and around the judicial complex to ensure foolproof security and avoid any untoward situation during the hearing of a case against former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on Monday (today).

Moreover, security of the capital has been put on a high alert. The two PPP leaders would appear before an accountability court at G-11 in connection with an appeal filed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in the fake accounts case.

Last month, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) summoned PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Zardari to hand them a questionnaire in the fake bank accounts case.

PPP workers clashed with police during Zardari and Bilawal’s appearance in court last time so a similar incident cannot be ruled out, official says

A large number of PPP workers reached Nadra Chowk.

When the area magistrate directed them to disperse as Section 144 was imposed there, the party workers attacked the police and reached outside the NAB office after breaking barriers.

Nine police officials and a journalist were injured. However, the PPP activists claimed that they were peaceful and police had button-charged them.

The police registered a case against 70 PPP workers, including Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Raja Shakil Abbasi.

The police said 20 of the nominated workers were arrested but 50 escaped.

A senior police official told Dawn on Sunday that as Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur would appear before the court the possibility of another clash with the party workers could not be ruled out.

“Last time a large number of PPP workers had arrived from outside Islamabad so personnel of law enforcement agencies have been deputed at the entry points of the city. Moreover, workers who were involved in the clash have been identified and would be arrested if they arrived in the city. Apart from it, reserve force has been directed to remain on a standby as they can be called any time,” he said.

A number of hearings of cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif were also held at the judicial complex during which people were not allowed to enter the premises.

During one of the hearings, when the then federal minister for interior Ahsan Iqbal tried to enter the judicial complex saying he wanted to see the security arrangements, the Rangers stopped him. Though he ordered an inquiry that how Rangers, which were under the interior minister, could stop him but nothing happened.

A police official said as per the security plan no irrelevant person would be allowed into the judicial complex. Police and the district administration officers would remain there till conclusion of the hearing.

“There would be 1,500 police officials, including the anti-riot force, commandos and women officials. There will also be officials of Rangers, Special Branch in civvies and the traffic police,” he said.

“Moreover, as Mr Zardari is the former president and his wife [Benazir Bhutto] was assassinated in Rawalpindi it is the responsibility of the government to provide him security.

If Mr Zardari comes from Zardari House at F-8 or from any other area, proper security cover would be provided to him,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2019