Police lift security cordon in Islamabad a day after PTI calls off long march

Published November 6, 2022
This image shows traffic moving normally in Faizabad on Saturday. — DawNewsTV
This image shows traffic moving normally in Faizabad on Saturday. — DawNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The capital police have decided to lift the security cordon in Islamabad after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan called off the long march in the wake of attempt on his life, Dawn has learnt.

PRO of the capital police told Dawn that orders had been issued for removal of all the containers from the roads of Islamabad besides directives to send back the visiting Sindh police to their native province.

“Now there is no need of force from Sindh in the capital,” he said, adding that the paramilitary troops were assisting the capital police.

“Imran Khan has called off the long march and as such there is no need to retain the containers and the force from other areas in the capital,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, a senior police officer put the money spent on security-related arrangements in connection with the long march at over Rs410 million. He said that the grant released by the Finance Ministry had been exhausted a week ago while bearing the expenses of containers, vehicles, meals, visiting force and anti-riot gears.

Official says orders issued for removal of containers from roads

The capital police have asked the government to release more funds, he said, adding that reply in this regard was still awaited.

When asked in this regard, the police PRO showed ignorance about the matter and said he could comment on this after getting details of funds from the concerned officers.

Officers of the capital police said that a total of 15,235 personnel and officers, including 4,343 from capital police, 4,788 from FC, 4,525 from Rangers and 1,599 from Sindh police, took part in the security duties and maintaining law and order situation in Islamabad during the last couple of weeks. Besides, 720 containers of different sizes, 50,050 teargas shells, 37,300 rubber bullets, 335 vehicles, 11,000 pepper balls and 10,500 spray paints were also acquired to deal with the long march, they added.

The withdrawal of the forces and removal of the containers was decided in a meeting held on Saturday at the Central Police Office though a protest of PTI was scheduled at Faizabad later in the evening, they said.

The PTI workers gathered at Faizabad after the sunset and the police stopped them from entering the capital. The police also resorted to teargas shelling to disperse them.

They also picked up over a dozen protesters and shifted them to police installations, the officers added.

The officers said that shortly after the law and order was restored at Faizabad the police announced the withdrawal of the forces and removal of containers.

Meanwhile, four separate cases were registered against the PTI leaders and activists in connection with the protest held the other day, the officers said, adding that three cases were registered at Industrial Area police station and one at the women’s police station.

These four cases were registered against 551 persons, including two women, under PPC sections 353, 186, 188 and 427, the officers said, adding that 27 persons, including two women, were also nominated in the four FIRs and arrested formally for legal action.

Nine FC personnel and five officials of the capital police were also injured during the clash with protesters on Friday, they said, adding the protesters set three motorcycles on fire and damaged public and private properties.

They said that the protesters pelted the personnel with stones and attacked them with batons.

IHC urged to dismiss PTI’s plea for NOC

Unwilling to allow permission to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to stage a public meeting/sit-in fearing threats to Imran Khan’s life, the Islamabad district administration on Saturday requested the Islamabad High Court to dismiss the party’s petition seeking no-objection certificate (NOC) for the sit-in.

On behalf of the district administration, the advocate general of Islamabad submitted a civil miscellaneous application to the IHC in response to the PTI’s petition seeking permission to hold a sit-in.

The petition filed by PTI leader Ali Nawaz Awan came amid a “deliberate delay” in the issuance of NOC by the Islamabad administration to the former ruling party for its long march led by former prime minister Imran Khan on Nov 6-7.

The petition, seeking security arrangements for Imran Khan and the participants of long march, contended that PTI was a peaceful and law-abiding party and in the past it had successfully conducted several public rallies, seminars, corner meetings, public gatherings and conventions in Islamabad.

It requested the court to direct the district administration to grant permission for lawful assembly to the marchers in Islamabad and a sit-in on the Srinagar Highway between H-9 and G-9 area near the Sunday Bazaar.

The district administration has already set ‘tough’ conditions for the PTI’s public meeting.

The Islamabad administration required an assurance from the PTI chief that the protesters would not bring any weapon and narcotics and he would take responsibility regarding the movement of protesters and internal security of the public meeting.

The district administration had submitted to the court a draft affidavit to be signed by Imran Khan that states “protesters shall not raise anti-religion or anti-ideology slogans and “shall not propagate any opinion, word, indication or act in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the state instructions.”

It suggested that banners should only be installed after approval of the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad. Moreover, PTI will provide the list of people “to be allowed on stage” to the administration at least 12 hours in advance.

However, after the gun attack on Mr Khan the district administration stated that the assassin had confessed to attempting to kill the PTI chairman because of his “religious feelings and emotions.”

“There is a likely chance of such religious fanatics entering into the rally, which may create suchlike incidents in Islamabad,” it said, adding that in past ex-governor Salman Taseer and former federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated by extremists.

Moreover, PTI leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has provoked the PTI supporters against the government and state institutions, states the application.

The district administration concluded that “at this stage…we are not able to allow PTI to hold Jalsa/sit-in in Islamabad Capital Territory.” It requested the court to dismiss the PTI’s petition seeking NOC for the upcoming sit-in.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2022

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