As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s long march participants are likely to reach the garrison city on Friday or Saturday, a red alert has been issued for the Rawalpindi city.
PTI chief Imran Khan is expected to arrive in the garrison city from Lahore on November 19 or 20.
The arrangements for his accommodation in Rawalpindi have been entrusted to a committee comprising MNAs Amir Mehmood Kiyani, Asad Umar and Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
A new bomb-proof highly secure special container has been prepared for the former premier which will be delivered to the garrison city at midnight between Thursday and Friday.
The PTI chairman has also been proposed to stay in Punjab House in Rawalpindi, however, the proposal has not been approved yet.
According to the security plan, police commandos will be deployed on the roofs of the plazas and markets on both sides of Murree Road while no one will be allowed to stand or pass within 30 feet distance of the PTI chief’s container.
Hundreds of washrooms have also been built near Shamsabad for participants of the long march.
The Murree Road from Mureer Chowk to Faizabad will be closed for general traffic on the arrival of the participants of the long march in Rawalpindi, while the alternative traffic route on Rawal Road, Islamabad Expressway will remain open for the traffic.
A heavy contingent of police and rangers will be deployed on the metro bus track. Law enforcement agencies have assumed duties in the most sensitive areas of the cantonment.
A control room has been set up to monitor the march's participants while a separate special control room has been set up in the garrison area as well.
Cellular and internet services will be suspended on the arrival of long march participants in the garrison city while metro bus service will also be stopped.
It has also been decided to carry out aerial and drone surveillance of the participants. Emergency has been imposed in all hospitals in the city and cantonment area while all petrol pumps on the route of the long march will be completely closed.
According to highly reliable sources, there is also a possibility of major arrests and detentions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
All public and private schools across the city will be closed from Friday while wholesale vegetable, fruit and grain markets are being closed. It has also been decided to close the big commercial centre.
The commissioner, deputy commissioner, RPO and CPO visited the office of the sensitive organisation this week and gave a detailed briefing about the arrival of the long march to the garrison city besides receiving necessary instructions.
The Rawalpindi police have been instructed to be on alert to deal with any kind of situation. The police have also been provided with a large quantity of tear gas shells and rubber bullets.
Meanwhile, the social welfare organisations, including Edhi and Chhipa, have called extra volunteers and ambulances from other districts to deal with any kind of situation from Thursday, 17th November to 30th November.
Since the wholesale markets are likely to be closed during this period, the citizens have started collecting a month's stock of vegetables, fruits, pulses and flour in their homes.
All Pakistan Private Schools Association has decided to close all educational institutions for 10 days as soon as the long march participants enter the limits of the Rawalpindi district.
The PTI workers have set up reception camps on Murree Road to receive the participants of the long march.
Camp preparations reach fever pitch
The preparations for the participants’ camp have reached their peak ahead of the arrival of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’ in Rawalpindi.
The arrangements in the garrison city will be supervised by the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker, Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi. The wedding halls and marquees near Murree Road have been booked in advance to accommodate the participants of the long march.
The plan to set up tent cities in Allama Iqbal Park and Shehbaz Sharif Park has also been finalised. Food and drinks for the participants will be arranged separately.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2022.
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