All private schools, petrol pumps, vegetable and fruit and other major markets in Rawalpindi will remain shut while a number of private schools in the capital are also expected to remain closed in wake of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s long march that is likely to enter the garrison city on Sunday.
Officials of the Rawalpindi district administration said that it has been decided to close petrol pumps, government and private schools and vegetable and fruit market in Islamabad will be closed as soon as the PTI’s long march reaches Rawalpindi.
They said that the metro bus service between the twin cities will also remain shut.
The district administration said that petrol pumps will be closed as a precautionary measure.
The All-Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association has also announced to close educational institutions as soon as the long march enters Rawalpindi.
All Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association Central President Irfan Muzaffar Kiyani said that the lives of children could not be put in risk. “We have decided to close all schools in the Rawalpindi division from Monday,” he said.
According to the District Education Authority Rawalpindi Office, the deputy commissioner will decide on the closure of government schools by Sunday evening or Monday.
While the only vegetable and fruit market in the twin cities will also remain closed for four to five days due to the closure of entrance roads.
Due to the closure of the vegetable market, prices of essential commodities are likely to hit a record high.
Due to the closure of schools, ongoing monthly tests and the matriculation entrance tests have also been postponed from Monday.
All markets and offices along Murree Road from Murairr Chowk to Faizabad will remain closed.
Mobile phone and internet services will be suspended with the arrival of the long march in Rawalpindi.
According to Anjuman Tajiran Sabzi Mandi Ghulam Qadir Mir President, the vegetable and fruit market will remain shut due to the closure of roads
Meanwhile, a command and control centre has been established in Rawalpindi to monitor the PTI’s long march.
Three-layer security will be provided to the container of Imran Khan and elite force commandos will secure it from all sides.
In total, more than 10,000 personnel will perform security duty in Rawalpindi during the long march.
The in charge of the command and control centre will coordinate with all law enforcement agencies and the bomb disposal squad.
All major hospitals in Rawalpindi have also been put on high alert to deal with possible emergencies.
The Rawalpindi police have also been instructed to remain on high alert because of the threat of terrorism.
On the other hand, 750 officers and wardens have been deployed on roads to ensure traffic flow. Traffic police have been directed to remove encroachments, especially from Fawara Chowk so that there was no problem in accessing hospitals.
Rawalpindi police have decided not to resort to the use of ammunition in case of a clash with the PTI activists. Sources said the police force has been dispensed with anti-riot equipment along with catapults.
Sources said that the anti-riot squad will remain in front to deal with the protesters or those welcoming them on their arrival. The force will be equipped with tear-gas shells and guns, batons, shields, and other safety equipment, the sources said.
According to sources allied hospitals’ administrations have been directed to take on board private hospitals to cope with possible emergencies. A comprehensive plan had been devised to deal with emergencies, the sources said.
They said all arrangements were in place, including the availability of medicine, allocation of beds, and deployment of essential staff at the hospitals.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2022.
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