ISLAMABAD: Diplomatic Enclave was partially sealed for more than five hours on Friday due to security concerns.
Officers of the capital police while talking to Dawn on condition of anonymity said two gates of the enclave were closed in the afternoon, while extra deployment was made on its two other gates where regulated movement was allowed.
However, Director Media and Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Dr Syed Mustafa Tanweer, when contacted for comments, said the gates of the enclave were closed due to the movement of the cricket teams from the hotel to the stadium. During the movement, traffic on the route was suspended and diversions were put in place, he added.
Mr Tanweer said the gates were closed to avoid trouble to diplomats who could be stuck up in traffic blockade because of the closure of various roads due to the teams’ movement.
Police say gates were closed due to movement of Pakistan-NZ cricket teams
The Diplomatic Enclave has six gates and two of them – Gate No 1 and Gate No 6 – have completely been closed for long, the police officers said, adding Gate No 2, 3, 4 and 5 were in use for entry and exit.
At about 1:30pm, Gate No 2 located in front of the Foreign Office and Gate 4 on Third Avenue were closed due to security concerns, the officers said, adding the diplomatic community was also asked to use Gate No 4 for entry and Gate No 3 for exit.
The step was taken as a precautionary measure keeping in view the security alert issued to New Zealand cricket team, they said.
The alert to the cricket team was conveyed to the capital police and all the precautionary measures were taken and the city was put on high alert, they said.
In addition to the deployment on the route security for the team, police were also deployed in different parts of the city.
Earlier, all arrangements were made to take the Pakistan and New Zealand teams from the hotel in Islamabad to the stadium at 10am, the officers said. At 10:30am, the route security clearance message was received.
Besides all senior officers concerned, the capital police chief Qazi Jamilur Rehman reached the hotel to check the security in and around the hotel and later moved on the route on which the teams was to travel.
The teams were to move at 12:30pm but two to three minutes before their departure from the hotel, they were asked to remain inside their rooms.
Shortly, they were asked to postpone the movement for an hour. After 2pm, they were informed that the match had been cancelled and there was no need to move to the stadium.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2021