ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa on Tuesday ordered that security be stepped up for the safe conduct of next week’s Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) foreign ministers’ meeting and the Pakistan Day parade in the capital.
Gen Bajwa, while presiding over the corps commanders’ meeting at the General Headquarters, directed that comprehensive security measures be ensured for peaceful conduct of the two events, the ISPR said in a statement.
The meeting of OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers is being held on March 22-23 in Islamabad. Foreign ministers of 48 countries have confirmed their participation in the event. The March 23 Pakistan Day parade, another annual high-profile event, has assumed greater significance this time as it will be witnessed by the foreign ministers attending the OIC meeting.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi too will be in Islamabad for the two events. Mr Yi will be the guest of honour at the OIC CFM meeting, according to a diplomatic source.
The ISPR’s statement of the corps commanders meeting, meanwhile, said Gen Bajwa lauded the ongoing counter-terrorism operations.
The generals attending the meeting, according to the statement, “expressed resolve to take all requisite measures to ensure security of the country”.
Although terrorism is a major concern especially because of recent incidents, growing political instability and opposition’s call for the long march against the government starting from March 23 and converging on Islamabad the next day was a bigger headache. However, the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement on Tuesday night announced that the march’s participants would now enter the capital on March 25, instead of March 24.
The postponement of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Islamabad in 2014 because of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf’s sit-in is still fresh in the minds of the organisers of the OIC event.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2022