- 7,000 cops being deployed for security of PTI marchers
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is all set to show its street power near the residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore’s Raiwind area on Friday (today) in a bid to pressure him to present himself and his family members for accountability in the aftermath of the Panama Leaks.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Home Department on Thursday, through a letter, warned the PTI leadership of a possible terrorist attack by Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) on its marchers. PTI chief Imran Khan, however, said the march would go ahead as planned, saying, “Whenever we talk about taking to streets, the government starts to warn us about possible terror attacks.”
Also on Thursday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) granted the PTI permission for its Raiwind march but directed the party to hold its demonstration without affecting peace and remaining within the law.
Khan spent busy days this week as he made whirlwind tours throughout the city in a bid to draw the maximum number of people to Adda Plot – the venue of the rally – just five kilometres away from the PM’s residence Jati Umra.
Khan was also found requesting citizens of Lahore for participation in his rally in large numbers, through a recorded phone call.
“People from all over Pakistan should participate in our march to display unity,” the PTI chief said while interacting with media.
Following Indian aggression on the Line of Control (LoC) that killed two Pakistani soldiers, Khan said he would respond to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Raiwind march. “I had to give a message to Nawaz Sharif, but tomorrow I will send a message to Modi too,” he added.
“I will show Nawaz Sharif how to respond to Modi,” Khan went on to add.
Meanwhile, a meeting of PTI’s parliamentary party was held under the chair of Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed on Thursday where all legislators were asked to bring the maximum number of people to the rally.
“Millions of PTI workers will participate from Punjab,” said PTI MPA Saadia Sohail Rana, who was part of the meeting, adding that “there will be a symbolic participation of PTI workers from other provinces”.
She, however, said the party had no intention to prolong its protest demonstration, keeping in view the ongoing border skirmishes with hostile India.
Moreover, Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed also headed into talks with Punjab Chief Secretary Captain (r) Zahid Saeed on arrangements for PTI’s rally. The chief secretary assured the leadership of PTI that there would be no shutdown of petrol pumps in the province and the government would not create any hindrance in the way of PTI’s rally.
The Home Department, through a letter, on Thursday informed PTI decision-makers that it had credible information that the RAW was planning to target their rally. It said the Indian spy agency had planned to target the PTI rally in unison with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS).
In this respect, a delegation of PTI, comprising MPA Mian Aslam Iqbal and MPA Shoaib Siddiqui, also called on Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Capt (r) Muhammad Ameen Wains to review the security plan for party’s Raiwind march.
The CCPO assured the PTI leaders that a comprehensive plan had been evolved to provide effective security to the rally. He said that more than 7,000 police officers and officials were being deployed under the security plan.
He said the participants of the public meeting would be checked in three lanes while a control room had also been established in which officers of police and district administration would be deployed for constant monitoring of the rally.
The meeting decided that police, district administration and PTI leadership would keep a close liaison and coordination with each other during the public meeting.
DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf said that all vehicles coming from other cities would be thoroughly checked before being allowed entry to the venue. He said that a search operation would be carried out Thursday night to clear the venue for the rally.
The PTI leaders expressed their complete satisfaction over the security arrangements made by the Lahore Police, and said they would abide by the code of conduct, chalked out by the police and district administration.
Meanwhile, a large number of convoys of PTI leaders and workers from other parts of the country are on their way to Lahore to attend the Raiwind march.