ISLAMABAD: The Red Zone was partially sealed again on Thursday to stop activists of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from coming out on streets and protesting in front of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Police officers told Dawn that the Red Zone was partially sealed over an alert shared by Special Branch of police stating that activists and leaders of PTI would stage a protest in front of ECP. In this regard they gathered at Nadra Chowk, the alert added.
There is a strong possibility that they would try to reach the ECP building, which may disturb law and order, police said, adding barbed wire was placed around ECP and Supreme Court of Pakistan, while 200 personnel were deployed at ECP and 50 Rangers along with two police platoons and 36 personnel of the anti riot unit (ARU) were deployed around SC. Containers were placed at Korianwala Chowk, Dhokri Chowk, Serena Hotel Chowk, Nadra Chowk, Legend Hotel Chowk G-5, Embassy Road Chowk, Express Chowk, Marriot Hotel Chowk.
Barbed wire was placed on roads near Fata House, Covered Market Chowk, Ataturk Avenue at Khayaban-i-Suhrwardi, Bari Imam T Cross, Fazal-i-Haq Road, and several streets of G-6/4 from street 81 to 90.
A total of 1,880 personnel including 400 Rangers and 115 Federal Constabulary (FC) officials were deployed at blocking points, equipped with tear gas shells. Two prison vans each were deployed at Dhokri Chowk, Serena Hotel Chowk, Nadra Chowk, Embassy Road Chowk, Express Chowk, and Fazal-i-Haq Road. Armed personnel carriers were deployed at these spots as well. A platoon each, along with a team of 25 personnel of ARU were seen patrolling Srinagar Highway, Jinnah Avenue, Margalla Road and Constitution Avenue.
Five platoons along with 100 personnel of ARU and 25 personnel equipped with tear gas shells were also put on standby at Secretariat police station.
A vehicle loaded with 1,000 long range and 1,000 short range tear gas shells were put on standby along with personnel at Aabpara and Secretariat police stations, the officers said.
Meanwhile, the capital administration refused to give permission to PTI to hold a public gathering at Nadra Chowk. Earlier, Shahzad Gull, PTI’s general secretary, informed the administration about a peaceful gathering planned by the party’s workers at Nadra Chowk. However, the administration asked PTI workers to gather at F-9 Park and H-9 Ground.
PTI leaders were seen gathered at Parliament House, walking towards ECP, police said, adding that they were 25 to 30 in numbers.
Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2022