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Local administration facilitates long march

January 15, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Jan 14: In a late night development on January 13, after the local administration reached an understanding with Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) over a ‘code of conduct’ (COC) the entire long march, thereafter, stood facilitated by the local administration.

Although time period for the sit-in — how long it would continue — could not be decided between TMQ and the local administration.

Officials stated that backdoor negotiations with TMQ were underway.

Code of Conduct

According to the COC, the TMQ agreed that it would not cross the designated Saudi Pak Tower and step in the high security Red Zone.

The representatives of the TMQ also assured the administration that they would not resort to violence. No one will bring a weapon to the venue and if anyone is spotted with a weapon, ‘TMQ volunteers’ will hand him over to the police.

The organisers and the participants of the long march will also cooperate with the police and local administration in all matters and a committee was formed in this regard.

Volunteers of TMQ will be responsible for the security arrangements in and around the venue — assisting the police at entry points and conducting body searches.

However, separate entry and exit points will be marked for the VIPs, according to the COC.

Patron-in-chief of Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran Dr Mohammad Tahirul Qadri will use a bullet-proof vehicle.

Besides, a bullet-proof box will be installed on the stage.

The stage will be set up at a distance of 200 metres from the gathering. Only people whose names were given to the administration will be allowed access to the stage.

The code of conduct allowed TMQ the use of five generators at the venue to generate power. Lights were also installed at the divider of Jinnah Avenue. Water supply will also be provided by the local administration, plus workers will be allowed to dig earth for toilet use.

However, the timeframe of the sit-in at the venue was not given to the administration.

Backdoor negotiations

Besides, backdoor negotiations between the government and TMQ continue.

Officials in the administration said that negotiations are ongoing and a secret meeting would take place before Mr Qadri heads towards the venue.

According to the official, Dr Qadri would meet officials at an undisclosed location in Islamabad.

“Security personnel and a legislator will attend the meeting,” said the official.

The statements of the official are contrary to the statements made by Interior Minister Rehman Malik in the build up to the march, in which he had stated that he would not allow Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran to enter Islamabad.

However later he changed his tone and said the participants would not be stopped.

He further alluded to another ‘probable’ meeting of officials shortly after the caravan of TMQ left Gujar Khan. The meeting could not be confirmed, added the official.

Majority of the officials were of the view that the picture would become clear by Tuesday (today).