ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad district management announced to allow Qadri’s long march to enter Islamabad while a stage has been set in front of Stock Exchange Building in Blue Area.
The chief police officer of Islamabad Capital Territory announced that 600 to 1,000 policemen had been deployed at the Islamabad Expressway leading to Constitution Avenue, the route which the long march will follow.
Amid major development on Sunday, the Islamabad district management officers included Constitution Avenue in the red zone while a large number of commandoes of police, in collaboration with rangers, were deployed to cope with an unexpected situation.
As a part of the security plan devised for the long march, the police commandoes were deployed at petrol pumps too.
On the direction of the Interior Ministry, cell phone companies were advised to switch off their service until the march ended. According to sources, the Islamabad district management had devised the security plan keeping in view the arrival of 70,000 to 150,000 protesters.
“Elaborate security measures have been taken to ensure safety of the marchers. We have enough strength to provide security to 70,000 to 150,000 marchers,” a senior official said.
According to sources, the government was trying to reduce strength of the long march step by step. For instance, they can influence a large number of marchers to go back home at different junctions. However, the same was not confirmed by the government officials.
Until filing of this report, sources told The Nation that 30,000 to 40,000 people were marching to their destination from Kamonki.
The Presidency, the Prime Minister’s House and Diplomatic Enclave have also been given security cover, keeping in view the situation. The long march is expected to reach Islamabad on Monday afternoon.
According the officials of the Islamabad district management, 10,000 policemen of Islamabad police, in collaboration with thousands officials of rangers, Frontier Constabulary, commandoes of Motorways Police and the Punjab police would be deployed.
Official sources confirmed that 100 platoons of Frontier Constabulary and a contingent of 4,000 FC personnel had reached Islamabad to help the capital police to maintain peace.
Though the Islamabad management has started homework to stop the marchers from entering the federal capital, a large number of policemen and officials of other law-enforcement agencies borrowed from other parts of the country have been deployed and entrances sealed by placing big containers. The red zone has already been sealed by placing containers and tankers.
Earlier, the ministry had asked the local administration to stop the marchers at Jinnah Avenue and make security arrangements for the rally and a sit-in in the centre of the capital and stop. Interior Minister Rehman Malik had also given an indication that Qadri would be restricted to Saudi Pak Tower at Jinnah Avenue in the capital. Saudi Pak Tower is almost half a kilometre from D-Chowk near the Parliament building where Qadri had announced to hold a public rally.
“As we think if long marchers reach near Faizabad – the point where the twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, stand divided – a bad law and order situation would arise if they are stopped at the point,” a senior official of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration said. He added they would have no option left except allowing the long marchers to stage a sit-in in the capital.
The offices of the local administration and its attached departments remained open on Sunday to make necessary security arrangements for the long march and made various plans to maintain law and order situation of the capital during the protest demonstration.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the purpose of Tahirul Qadri to hold the long march was just to derail the democratic system and a bid to sabotage the upcoming general elections.
While talking to reporters after reviewing security arrangements for the long march, the minister said the democratic system would prevail in the country and the TMQ chief's agenda for derailing the system would not be successful. Referring to his charter of demand, Malik said the dissolution of the Election Commission meant a delay of another six months in the elections.
Had Qadri kept in mind the provisions of Constitution, he would not have talked in such a manner for his demands were unconstitutional, Malik said and urged him to avoid misleading the nation.
Answering a query, he said the five terrorists who had planned an attack on Qadri’s long march had been arrested from Karachi. He termed Qadri a liar and said a white paper on Qadri’s lies would be issued soon. He said the security of the residents of Islamabad would be ensured during the long march, adding no one could be allowed to violate the law.