ISLAMABAD: Unlike the two previous sit-ins in 2014 and 2017, the capital police and administration handled the JUI-led Azadi March with better planning and strategy.

In the 2014 sit-in by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the Red Zone remained a no-go area for the citizens.

The government servants also faced hardships in reaching their offices as the protesters had set up pickets on Constitution Avenue.

Similarly, the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi remained paralysed during the sit-in of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in 2017.

During the two sit-ins, a number of clashes took place between the protestors and the law enforcers.

The residents of the capital still remembered the situation during the two sit-ins, so anxiety gripped them when the JUI-F announced the Azadi March.

Unlike 2014 and 2017, no major incident occurred during the protest except for a few traffic issues

But no major trouble or incident took place in the capital except for some traffic issues confronted by people due to road closures.

This time the capital police and administration came up with a better strategy and planning to ease the residents and with minimum hurdles in the city.

Private educational institutes were closed during the early days of the Azadi March-turned sit-in at Peshawar Mor.

The two-week-long protest also witnessed suspension of the Metro Bus Service and closure of weekly bazaar at H-9. Besides, a portion of the Kashmir Highway was closed at the venue side, and Red Zone partially sealed.

The main concern of the residents was smooth movement in the city while remaining away from trouble areas.

But officers and officials of the capital police made the lives and routine of the people easy.

The law and order situation remained under control thanks to the participants as not a single pot was broken during the period. Besides, they remained disciplined and peaceful at the venue.

About 12,000 officials along with dozens of officers made the security of the participants of the sit-in possible during the two weeks. Besides, they ensured smooth flow of traffic in the city even though there were road blockades.

Most of the time, Faizabad Interchange connecting Rawalpindi and Islamabad remained open unlike during the 2017’s sit-in when the area was under complete control of the protesters.

A senior police officer told Dawn that 5,000 officials of the capital police along with 3,000 FC personnel, 1,500 Punjab Constabulary, 2,000 KP police and 500 from Kashmir and railway police performed duties in connection with the sit-in.

“It was a difficult task to provide lodging, meal and transportation to such a large number of personnel but with assistance of contractors it was done successfully,” he added.

The participants of the sit-in were handled in a professional manner and smooth flow of traffic was ensured during the event.

The DIG security and DIG operations divisions ensured elaborate security arrangements on the venue of the sit-in and other areas while the DIG headquarters ensured smooth provision of logistic support to security personnel.

Effective monitoring was also made of the participants of sit-in through safe city cameras under supervision of the director general Safe City Project.

The SSP traffic ensured smooth flow of traffic and alternative arrangements for road users during the sit-in period.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2019