January 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: The Islamabad district administration Friday refused to allow PTI Chairman Imran Khan to land his chopper at the Parade Ground or in any area near the sensitive installations.

The chopper will bring Imran from Lahore today (Saturday) for addressing his rally at the Nawaz Sharif Park in Rawalpindi.

The district administration’s decision has been taken in view of the PTI track record, as it can use the permission as a pretext to allow its supporters to storm the federal capital, creating security issues for the sensitive installations.

Highly-placed sources told The News Friday that the PTI’s track record indicated that it used such facilitation for subversive purposes in the past.

The PTI never stood by whatever it committed beforehand. Once the chopper lands, the route from the helipad to the rendezvous will be made open and it could provide the PTI with an opportunity to storm Islamabad and launch an assault.

The sources said the PTI was also asking for an open passage between the blockade of sensitive roads where containers had been placed. That too would be used for penetration of its people into Islamabad. The sources reminded that the administration would be ultimately responsible if any mishap took place.

The district administration isn’t prepared to take any risk on account of various pleas made by the PTI. Likewise, terrorists can also benefit from such facility, as the agencies have expressed the fear that Imran Khan and his rally may be attacked by a suicide bomber or may be targeted by a direct act of terrorism.

In a related development, the deputy commissioner Friday issued an NoC to the opposition PTI for holding the public gathering. The district administration has set around 56 conditions which the PTI will have to abide by.

The PTI has been asked to vacate the venue the same day soon after the public meeting is over after which any further gathering will not be allowed.

The local administration has asked the PTI to vacate Nawaz Sharif Park the same night. Use of drone cameras has been strictly banned.

According to the notification, anti-state slogans are strictly prohibited. No speech against the constitutional offices/armed forces/judiciary is allowed. No effigy/flag of any political, religious party or any person belonging to any country shall be burnt.

The PTI has been asked to take extreme precautionary measures as well as necessary security arrangements in addition to the arrangements made by the local police, especially during the address of party Chairman Imran Khan.

A letter sent to the PTI leadership has sought assurance that Imran will use the prescribed route as decided by the LEAs and district administration to enter and leave the venue, and he will avoid using any other route.

The PTI chairman has been asked to avoid using the sunroof of vehicle before, during and after the public gathering. He would be moved towards the stage in a security escort and will use a a bulletproof cabin during his address.

There shall be no utterances to injure the feelings of any religious/political group/party/sect. Objectionable/offensive slogans shall be prohibited. There shall be no wall-chalking in any part of the district regarding the meeting. The organisers will ensure backup arrangements for electric supply during the event.

Since the venue of the public gathering is located in a congested area surrounded by bus/wagon stands, high-rise buildings, hotels, universities, business hubs, mosques, rest houses, and Sports Complex where travellers from across the country check in and check out and also stay there, utmost security should be ensured to avoid any untoward incident during the gathering.

The District Intelligence Committee (DIC) has also observed that the venue is an open place entailing security risks. However, keeping in view the present law and order situation in the country, if the organisers are to hold a peaceful public gathering/jalsa, they shall be responsible in case of any untoward incident, the local administration has warned.

On the other hand, PTI leadership has established a ‘tent city’ at the Nawaz Sharif Park with over 100 toilets for the Azadi March participants.

The PTI leadership has also directed the workers to establish a tent city at the Liaquat Park.

Several private schools in the federal capital are also expected to remain closed in wake of the long march and the police have started blocking the entry points, including the Faizabad intersection, linking the twin cities.

The Rawalpindi district administration has decided to close the petrol pumps and government and private schools and offices from Saturday (today).

Under-trial prisoners from Adiala Jail will not be produced in the twin cities courts and the judiciary of both cities has been formally informed about it.

All markets and offices along the Murree Road from Marir Chowk to Faizabad shall remain closed.

The main vegetable and fruit market in Islamabad will also be completely closed for three days, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday in the first phase. Faizabad and Pirwadhai bus stands will also be closed. Entry to Islamabad from Faizabad Expressway, Pindora and Golra Mor will be banned.

Meanwhile, a command-and-control centre has been established in Rawalpindi to monitor the long march.

Three-layer security will be provided to the container of Imran Khan and elite force commandos will secure it from all sides. All major hospitals in Rawalpindi have also been put on high alert to deal with any possible emergency situation.

The Rawalpindi police have also been instructed to remain on high alert because of the threat of terrorism.

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