ISLAMABAD: Seminaries and leaders of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) in the capital have been put under surveillance to prepare a strategy to deal with the Azadi march of the politico-religious party to the capital.
On the directives of the capital administration, the police have alerted its Special Branch to collect information about the affiliation of the religious seminaries, teachers and students with the JUI-F. Besides, seminaries, teachers and students who may support the JUI-F should also be identified.
In this regard, intelligence was mounted in and around the seminaries to collect details.
Teachers, students who may support march also being identified, officials say
Officials deployed around seminaries are watching people visiting the premises and preparing their lists. The teachers and senior students are also under surveillance to check whom they are meeting and contacting these days.
Details are being collected about people and those who are found affiliated with JUI-F and other politico-religious parties have been put under surveillance to take action against them when needed, the officers stated.
There are 329 religious seminaries in the capital and it is expected that the JUI-F may get support, including manpower, from 207 of the seminaries, said the officers, adding over 28,000 students are getting education in these seminaries.
Moreover, surveillance of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Attaur Rehman, Mufti Abrar, Khawaja Mudassar and Majeed Hazarvi has also been started. The staff members of Maulana Fazlur Rehman are also being monitored.
Rent-a-car service providers, hotels and catering services are also being monitored along with clients visiting them, said the officers.
The Maintenance of Public Order or the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) may be used against the leaders of the JUI-F, teachers and students to restrict them from preparing for and participating in the long march.
Besides, CrPC may also be used against service providers to restrict them from dealing with the organisers, leaders and participants of the long march.
Meanwhile, the capital police have started a major anti-riot exercise to test its newly-prepared strategy, said a police officer, adding the exercise was started after the JUI-F announced its Azadi march against the government from Oct 27.
In Nov 2017, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan outclassed the capital police and continued its sit-in at Faizabad. After assuming charge as the inspector general of the police (IGP) Islamabad, Sultan Azam Temuri in Dec 2017 introduced the Anti-Riot Unit (ARU) and Police Reserves.
Huge shields were introduced to cover the ARU and reserves units, comprising over a dozen officials, to deal with any mob.
The ARU has the strength of 451officials while the Anti-Terrorist Squad has 71 personnel, said the officer, adding over 1,000 officials of the capital’s security and operation wings were participating in the exercise being held in the police headquarters.
The police reserves and ARU along with ATS will later participate in the exercises.
The officer said the long march would not be allowed to enter Red Zone and if necessary the high security area would be sealed. Besides, the participants of the long march will not be allowed to gather at Faizabad.
Pindi police prepare lists
The Rawalpindi district police have prepared lists of JUI-F local leaders and like-minded seminaries in addition to starting talks with them to convince them not to participate in the long march.
According to sources, the lists of local leaders and prominent figures of the JUI-F were prepared soon after the protest against the government was announced by the leadership of the party. However, intelligence and police officials have been engaged in holding meetings with the local leaders.
“Yes, we are holding meetings with them but they are strict to their stance and giving no information regarding their protest plan,” said a security official, adding details about madressahs were being collected.
A senior police official said the government’s strategy regarding the march was yet to be announced. Therefore, it would be too early to say whether the police have been tasked to allow or disallow the protesters to proceed to Islamabad.
Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019