RAWALPINDI: Hundreds of armed and regular police held a drill that featured anti-riot exercises at the Police Lines Headquarters on Wednesday as part of their preparation to tackle any law and order situation during the upcoming JUI-F’s Azadi March.
A minute long four-part video of the drill, led by City Police Officer Mohammad Faisal Rana, was also released by the police wherein the regular and armed police were shown assembled in the Police Lines Headquarters.
The video shows a mock exercise in which police use water cannons to disperse protesters while a group of personnel with anti-riot equipment stand close by.
In the second part of the video, the CPO was seen wearing a mask to avoid teargas fumes and bulletproof jacket, inquiring from the anti-riot squad about their preparations and moral.
5,000 more personnel called from other Punjab districts to assist Pindi police
The police squad are also seen in body armour with safety helmets, shields and batons.
The drills fuelled speculations that the JUI-F protesters would stage a sit-in in Islamabad, but the police claimed that nobody would be allowed to create law and order situation as over 5,000 additional police were called from the Punjab Constabulary and other districts to assist the local police.
CPO Rana said the police had completed their preparations to provide security to the people and public property during the upcoming protest.
He said all anti-riot tools demanded by the district police had been provided.
The police have already prepared a contingency plan by arranging 120 freight containers to seal the garrison city.
According to the security plan, entry points and roads leading to Islamabad would be sealed with the containers.
The police have already requested the authorities concerned to provide four companies of Rangers, each comprising 120 personnel, while the army would remain on standby.
The Rawalpindi police have also prepared lists of those dealing in catering and tent service business and transporters, apparently to restrict them from providing meal and other services to the protesters.
Meanwhile, a large number of containers arrived in Islamabad at the request of the capital police with the capital police officials saying that shipment of containers would continue for the next few days from Tarnol, Lahore and Peshawar.
They said the containers had been placed at the roadsides and greenbelts to use them in the coming days.
The containers would be placed all around the capital to create a three-layer security ring.
The officials said the first security ring would be made around the Red Zone, the middle one at Faizabad Interchange and the third at the entry points, including Rawat and Tarnol.
A contingent of Frontier Constabulary comprising 5,000 personnel would also reach Islamabad on Friday.
They said around 5,000 officials of the capital police would also take part in the law and order duties during the march.
— Additional reporting by Munawer Azeem
Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2019