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Provincial govts of Punjab and KP asked to increase surveillance, intercept rallies heading to capital

Updated July 19, 2019

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The governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been asked to increase surveillance on highways so politicians and political activists can be intercepted before they reach the capital to show solidarity with leaders appearing in court. — Reuters/File
The governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been asked to increase surveillance on highways so politicians and political activists can be intercepted before they reach the capital to show solidarity with leaders appearing in court. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been asked to increase surveillance on highways so politicians and political activists can be intercepted before they reach the capital to show solidarity with leaders appearing in court.

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is scheduled to appear before an accountability court today (Friday), and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is likely to be produced in court the same day.

There have been reports that PML-N workers, activists and leaders plan to gather in the capital from neighbouring provinces to accompany Ms Nawaz to court, capital administration and police officials said.

The administration and police have approached the provincial governments and their counterparts in neighbouring districts seeking greater surveillance of highways and for people moving in groups or rallies towards Islamabad to be intercepted.

They said they have been assured of cooperation, and steps were taken on highways in this regard.

Deployments have also been made at points of entry to the capital to intercept movement, they said. Superintendents of police and assistant commissioners have been deployed to keep an eye on people travelling in groups or rallies.

Around 200 Rangers and 800 police personnel will perform duties in and around the courts, entry points and key locations in the capital. The area housing the courts will be sealed to the public, and only concerned individuals will be allowed entry.

Police, including personnel from the Counter Terrorism Force and Anti Riot Unit will cordon off the area, and police will also be deployed on the rooftops of buildings around the courts.

Vehicles, including prison vans, will also be deployed around the courts. Separate teams have been constituted to apprehend those creating trouble and put them in the vans for further legal procedures.

Security around the National Accountability Bureau was also heightened after Mr Abbasi was brought there, officials said, and equipped police were deployed on roads adjacent to the building.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari was also detained there, they said. Rangers have been deployed inside the buildings.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019