Govt gears up for Azadi March in capital


–Army troops summoned for protection of sensitive areas

–Islamabad schools to remain closed on Thursday

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has finalised its preparations to face Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Azadi March in the federal capital as it has summoned Pakistan Army troops for protecting sensitive areas, and Islamabad Police and Pakistan Rangers as first and second line of defence.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting held at the Ministry of Interior under the chairmanship of secretary interior. Representatives from Pakistan Army, Pakistan Rangers, police and civil administration attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed at length government’s strategy to deal with the rally participants with aspects and scenarios coming into discussion, after which a counter strategy was devised.

The meeting discussed plan A, B, C and D to deal with any untoward situation. It was decided that no protester would be allowed to enter the Red Zone and several layers of security would be deployed to ensure this. Islamabad Police would be the first layer of defence while Pakistan Rangers and Pakistan Army would act as second and third layers of defence.

Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Pakistan Rangers director general gave separate briefings over their strategy to deal with those who violate security cordons. A detailed briefing was also given on police and reserve police provision.

Necessary measures have been taken to accommodate the police and Pakistan Rangers personnel from local and provincial pools. Aerial monitoring of the route of the rally and the space allocated for the public gathering would be conducted. The meeting resolved that the administration would cooperate with those abiding by the agreement and violators would be taken to task effectively.

According to the plan, the federal government would cooperate with the rally participants only “if they adhered to the agreement” reached between the Islamabad deputy commissioner and the JUI-F regional office bearers.

The JUI has been given permission to enter Islamabad through Islamabad Express Highway from Rawat, Rawalpindi.

A source who attended the meeting on Wednesday told this scribe that the regional leadership of JUI-F has been directed to ensure that the rally participants must ensure safety and security of the lives and property of the citizens of the twin cities as well as the public property.

Secretary interior also directed the district administration to ensure protection of the lives and properties of civilians. Moreover, the administration also decided that no one would be allowed to disrupt the routine movement of vehicles or daily life.

The local administration also informed the meeting that a separate strategy had been chalked out to ensure that no non-custom paid vehicle is allowed to enter the capital.

“No one would be allowed to enter the city carrying or brandishing weapons. The same plan has also been shared with the JUI-F leadership,” the source said.

The meeting was also informed that detailed traffic plans have also been chalked out for local citizens or for those entering Islamabad from adjoining areas including Rawalpindi.

“People would be informed on the alternative route plans so as the motorists are not affected by the rally participants. The same would also be communicated to public through electronic, print and social media,” the source concluded.


Meanwhile, the federal government announced that all private schools in the federal capital will remain closed on Thursday, citing the possibility of uncertain security, law and order situation when opposition parties’ Azadi March will enter Islamabad.

The Private Schools Association’s (PSA) president stated that the decision to reopen schools will be taken in light of the developing situation. The secretary of the association maintained that the decision has been taken for the safety of schoolchildren.