RAWALPINDI: For the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) protest scheduled to be held on Jan 19 (tomorrow), three main parties - PPP, PML-N and JUI-F - will bring separate rallies from the garrison city.

The participants will enter the federal capital from Faizabad, I.J. Principal Road and Srinagar Highway to gather outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The PML-N participants led by Maryam Nawaz will march from Shamsabad Park, commonly known as Nawaz Sharif Park on Murree Road.

“Though the plan is ready but we will change it as per decision of PDM core committee meeting on Jan 18 [today],” PML-N Metropolitan President and former mayor Sardar Naseem said while talking to Dawn.

He said all leaders and party ticket holders of 2018 elections and union council former chairmen will gather at the place with their workers and supporters.

“Women’s wing, youth and students’ wing will lead their rallies separately, joining the main rally of Maryam Nawaz,” he added.

Party workers and supporters have been asked to attend the event, he said, adding Ms Nawaz will be given a rousing welcome in Rawalpindi as she is leading the main rally.

Other PDM parties have their own programmes and in this regard representatives of the movement’s local chapter are meeting today.

The JUI-F rally will depart for Islamabad from Peshawar Road, led by Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.

A senior JUI-F leader told Dawn that a meeting of the party’s local chapter was held at Jamia Islamia to chalk out the plan, adding all party leaders from Rawalpindi and adjoining areas had been asked to bring maximum people for the protest.

PPP’s Rawalpindi chapter President Babar Jadoon said party workers will march from Pindora Octori on I.J.P Road.

He said the venue was selected after consultation with other PDM parties, adding PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto had informed party workers about the venue beforehand.

Meanwhile, more than 1,800 police personnel have been deployed as per a security plan in Islamabad ahead of the rally.

The operations division of the capital police in consultation with the district administration has devised the security plan. The participants of the rally will march towards Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Five superintendents of police (SPs), 10 deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) under the supervision of the SSP (operations) will be on security duty.

Participants of the rally have been advised to park their vehicles in Convention Centre’s parking area and walk towards ECP after passing through walk-through gates. Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) will issue a traffic advisory with alternative routes during the rally.

According to a police official, participants will have to stay outside the ECP and any attempt to enter its premises or any other buildings located on Constitution Avenue will not be tolerated.

Additional reporting by Ikram Junaidi

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2021

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