RAWALPINDI: Life remained normal in the garrison city of Rawalpindi except on the portion of Murree Road from Chandni Chowk to 6th Road where the PTI held its public gathering on Saturday.
The usual hustle and bustle in Saddar and other commercial areas in the cantonment continued as well. Traders opened their shops as per routine while cart pushers were seen selling fruits, sunglasses, baseball caps and second-hand garments on roads in the bazaars.
However, the garrison city’s main artery, Murree Road from Chandni Chowk to 6th Road presented a different look.
While moving towards Rehmanabad, one could see containers placed to close Murree Road. 5th Road, Commercial Market Road, Saidpur Road, Rawal Road and Sadiqabad Road.
Portion of Murree Road closed to ensure foolproof security to public gathering
But life was also normal in these areas as people were walking to bazaars, the District Headquarters Hospital and the fruit and vegetable market.
In the two to three kilometre-long portion of Murree Road from Chandni Chowk to 6th Road, vendors were selling PTI flags and caps to the participants of the public gathering.
Rehmanabad was declared safe for the political show of Imran Khan and all police officials and officers were stationed there. The PTI workers reached the venue from different areas chanting slogans in favour of Imran Khan. The police and district administration were facilitating the PTI leaders, workers and supporters.
However, the common man had to face difficulties to reach Shamsabad via Murree Road as the local police had placed containers on Rawal Road and turned into a parking area for buses and cars of the participants.
Despite the chilly weather and sitting under the open sky, the PTI workers were chanting slogans in favour of their leader, mostly ‘Wazir-i-Azam Imran Khan’.
All roads leading to the venue had been sealed by placing containers and other barricades. Walk-through gates were installed at all the entry points and a comprehensive mechanism of body search was also adopted in order to avoid any untoward incident.
As many as 5,000 police personnel were deployed inside and around Rehmanabad for providing foolproof security to the PTI chief. Sharp shooters were also stationed on rooftops of the nearby buildings.
Regional Police Officer Nasir Mehmood Dasti and Commissioner Saqib Manan visited the venue to review the security arrangements.
The RPO also inspected the security arrangements around the stage and visited the duty checkpoints of the police on Murree Road.
“Full implementation of the instructions and SOPs issued regarding security arrangements should be ensured,” RPO Dasti said.
The PTI supporters and workers came from different parts of the country especially inner Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, KP and Sindh and Balochistan. They were roaming around in groups and carrying placards inscribed with photographs of their respective MNA or MPA and those who wanted party tickets.
“I came from Chichawatani with the rally of our MNA. I spent two days in a private housing scheme with other groups on the motorway,” said Mohammad Khalid, a participant of the rally.
Nasir Khan, a resident of Mardan, said he came with the rally to listen to the next plan of Imran Khan. He said he would stay in Rawalpindi till the order of the party leader. “There is a dire need to join hands with Imran Khan for real independence,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022