PESHAWAR: A day before the Ishq-e-Rasool national holiday being observed today (Friday), security was intensified in the provincial capital.
“Security for the US consulate, American Club, FC Chowk, Peshawar Press Club and other areas has been beefed up considerably as compared to an ordinary day. Extra contingents of police have been made available to us in case of emergency,” SP Headquarters Javed Khan told The Express Tribune.
Additional checkpoints have been set up to keep protesting mobs at a safe distance from the US consulate, he added.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Imtiaz Altaf said there were intelligence reports of terrorists planning an attack, adding that they (terrorists) could take full advantage of the protest processions.
As a precautionary measure for any untoward incident, shopkeepers and traders in Saddar, Nothia and University Road will keep shops closed on Friday.
“I am worried about the security of my shop because it has been looted twice before by mobs protesting against the blasphemous caricatures,” said Shah Jee, a businessman on University Road.
Many shopkeepers have taken office supplies, including computers and furniture, home to avoid break-ins and theft.
“People have the right to record their protest in a peaceful manner and I appeal to them to remain calm and peaceful,” Altaf said, adding that those who take law and order situation into their own hands would be punished accordingly.
1:30pm: Jamat-e-Islami (JI) will organise a procession from Masjid Muhabbat Khan following Friday prayers.
1:30pm: The JI’s youth wing, Shabab Milli, will rally from Nishtarabad towards the provincial assembly.
1:30pm: Banned group Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat will protest from Ashraf Road towards the provincial assembly.
2pm: Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan will stage a protest in the walled city.
2:30pm: Karwan will rally from University Road and head towards the US consulate.
2:45pm: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf will protest from Kohati Chowk.
3pm: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam plans to protest in front of the US consulate.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.