ISLAMABAD    -   The federal capital is likely to witness a showdown in coming days as the federal government on Saturday mobilized the security apparatus to counter the possible sit-in of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the city. 

Islamabad police have mobilized security apparatus and started chalking out a strategy to counter any anti-government move amidst the looming protest call by the PTI.

According to the police, the overall law and order situation was reviewed in a meeting at the central police office which decided to ensure effective security measures in the city besides enhancing vigilance. Following the special directions of Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan, an important meeting was held at the central police office under the chairmanship of Commandant FC Salahuddin Mehsud and IG Islamabad Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan to deal with the sit-in. All DIGs, AIGs, SSPs and other senior officials also attended the meeting and a detailed briefing was given to counter the sit-in call.

According to the Islamabad police, it was decided that any law and order situation in Islamabad will be dealt with using modern techniques. 

The Commandant FC assured the meeting that required FC personnel will be provided to deal with the sit-in and a regular plan has been prepared in this regard. 

The IGP Islamabad said that all the officers should be ready at all times to deal with the law and order situation. He said that the Islamabad police will never allow it to disturb peace in the city and take all necessary measures to protect the life and property of the citizens.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan seems certain that his call to march towards the capital will be responded to by hundred of thousands of Pakistanis demanding real freedom (haqiqi azadi). The right to protest comes with very serious responsibility and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has been assuring the authorities that the protest will be peaceful. However, the federal government is wary of the PTI claims given the violence on March 25 when the PTI supporters had tried to breach the cordons in different cities of the country to reach Islamabad. The government has made it amply clear through the interior minister that it will not simply stand by and let PTI’s agitation rock its boat.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday said PTI protesters would be stopped from entering the red-zone in Islamabad. He said that the PTI will only be allowed to protest at a place designated by the court, and that the protestors will be stopped if they tried entering the red zone. He accused the PTI chief and former prime minister of himself admitting the presence of a group that had weapons during the party’s previous long march, held on May 25 this year. “If any group talks about attacking Islamabad, shall we lie down in front of them,” the minister questioned, reiterating that the PTI will be stopped if they came in the form of violent groups.

Speaking of the May 25 march, Rana said that he was of the opinion that Imran should have been arrested with the permission of the cabinet. However, that did not happen, he added. 

It can be said without any doubt that Imran Khan currently leads Pakistan’s most popular political party. But paralysing life and the current administration in Islamabad through chaos will prompt another round — may be the final — of acrimony between the two sides. The PTI move may also lead to governor’s rule in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where PTI has its governments. Keeping in view the fragile economic situation, all the major stakeholders should take a step back and let things calm down before pursuing their personal agendas. But it is of little chance and a showdown is imminent in Islamabad.