Interior ministry seeks police personnel from provinces as TLP marches on capital

Published October 24, 2021
Law enforcement authorities have dumped dirt along side the containers at Faizabad in Rawalpindi to prevent the TLP protesters from pushing them away. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Law enforcement authorities have dumped dirt along side the containers at Faizabad in Rawalpindi to prevent the TLP protesters from pushing them away. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

So far, 2,500 personnel have reached capital, more expected, official says . 126 leaders and activists of banned outfit arrested in Rawalpindi . Number of roads in twin cities remain blocked

ISLAMABAD: As the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) started its protest march from Lahore to the federal capital, the Ministry of Interior sought police personnel and anti-riot gear from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Sources in the interior ministry and the capital administration said in a written request to the chief secretaries of Azad Kashmir, KP and Punjab, the ministry sought 10,000 personnel each along with the command structure and anti-riot equipment.

However, a source in the AJK police told Dawn that they had a total strength of 8,323 officers and officials. Besides policing, the police personnel are also deployed on the border with India, he added.

The demand made to the AJK police is beyond their capacity. However, on the request of the ministry, 300 policemen are being sent to Islamabad, the source added.

An officer of the KP police said 2,500 personnel had been approved for sending to Islamabad along with anti-riot equipment. The province has 104,000 police officers and officials.

On the other hand, an officer of the capital police said 2,000 personnel were coming from Punjab, 2,500 from KP, 300 from AJK and 1,000 from the Frontier Constabulary (FC). So far, 2,500 personnel have reached the capital and the contingent of FC was expected to arrive later in the night.

Arrangements for their boarding and lodging have been made at police barracks and community centres along with some other government and private buildings, the officer said. He said 50 buses had also been arranged to transport the personnel to their duty points and back.

He said 100 containers had been arranged to seal areas and roads, adding that same roads leading towards Red Zone were sealed with containers while more containers were also put in other areas.

Vendors sit on push carts with their goods at Chandni Chowk in Rawalpindi on Saturday. Roadside vendors and stalls have been removed for security reasons. — White Star
Vendors sit on push carts with their goods at Chandni Chowk in Rawalpindi on Saturday. Roadside vendors and stalls have been removed for security reasons. — White Star

Rawalpindi

The protest call given by the TLP forced the law enforcement agencies to seal Murree Road, the main artery of the garrison city.

As a result, gridlocks were seen on other roads across the city. Moreover, the local administration and police impounded more containers and closed all link roads leading to Islamabad.

A number of roads remained blocked in the twin cities for the second consecutive day, causing immense hardship to the commuters. Business activities remained suspended on Murree Road and around Faizabad while all fuel stations were also closed along Murree Road.

“In routine, the travel time from Chandni Chowk to Faizabad is 15 minutes but today I reached my shop in Chandni Chowk after two hours due to the road closures,” said Raja Yasir, a trader.

Mohammad Akram, who was going home in I-9/1, said he had to take a route via Khayaban-i-Sir Syed to reach his shop in Raja Bazaarbut had to return back due to closure of roads.

Arsalan Khan, a resident of Arya Mohallah who works in Blue Area, said the government should remove containers and allow people to move freely in the city.

Meanwhile, police along with personnel of other law enforcement agencies continued their crackdown across the region on Saturday, arresting 126 leaders and activists of the banned outfit.

Officials said 52 leaders and activists of the TLP were taken into custody from various parts of Rawalpindi whereas the others were rounded up in Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal.

So far, the law enforcement agencies have detained 206 leaders and activists of the banned outfit and shifted them to unknown locations, said a senior police officer.

Dozens of fourth schedulers belonging to the proscribed group were also among those taken into custody from Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal.

Heavy contingent of Rawalpindi and Islamabad police have been deployed on Murree Road and Faizabad Interchange. However, the metro bus service remained suspended in Rawalpindi.

Rangers are also assisting the police force in maintaining law and order.

The traffic police in Islamabad and Rawalpindi announced special traffic plans in the twin cities. However, huge traffic rush could be witnessed on Srinagar Highway, Islamabad Expressway, G.T. Road, Saddar and Peshawar Road.

Reportedly, the police and district administration also blocked G.T. Road from Jhelum Bridge by placing containers to stop the TLP from moving towards Islamabad.

A senior police officer in Jhelum claimed that no containers had been placed on the bridge to block it.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2021

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