In a show of power, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ long march reached the designated place of the protest in the garrison city Saturday with supporters joining in the caravan from all over the country in the shape of rallies.
The party supporters converged on the venue of the long march from Shamsabad Flyover to Chandni Chowk Flyover, completely disrupting the traffic flow on the roads of the city as well as of cantonment due to the increased traffic pressure on the Murree Road as well as other alternate routes.
The cellular and internet services were completely shut down in the nearby areas of the route of the long march. The business activities were severely affected and all educational institutions remained closed in the garrison city.
The work in the government and private offices remained suspended while all the surgeries scheduled for Saturday in the four allied hospitals of the city were postponed. The outpatient medical facilities also remained unavailable for the citizens in these hospitals.
Meanwhile, the road link between the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi also remained suspended due to the blocking of all the entry points of the most important IGP Road of the twin cities with Rawalpindi.
The public transport system from Rawalpindi's general bus stand at Pir Wadhai to other cities was also affected. The Metro Bus Service between the twin cities remained suspended while there was an extraordinary rush of commuters travelling to other cities of the country at the railway station.
Due to the closure of public transport, including the Metro Bus Service, the transporters lost millions of rupees in a single day.
Business activities on Murree Road, the longest business hub in the garrison city, remained completely suspended from Murir Chowk to Faizabad due to road closures and lack of citizens' access.
Security arrangements for long march
Earlier, Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer (RPO), Nasir Mehmood Satti and Commissioner Saqib Manan visited the venue of the long march and reviewed the security arrangements.
Rawalpindi City Police Officer Syed Shehzad Nadeem Bukhari and Senior Superintendent of Police, Operations Waseem Riaz Khan briefed them about the security arrangements.
The RPO and commissioner also visited adjacent areas of the main stage of the public gathering and checked different duty points.
According to a police spokesperson, police personnel including commandos from the Elite Force and sharpshooters were deployed to provide foolproof security cover to the long march.
An enhanced number of traffic wardens were deployed on alternative routes to ease traffic flow and facilitate road users. The Rawalpindi police had formulated a comprehensive security plan for maintaining law and order until the protesters leave Rawalpindi.
Over 10,000 personnel were deployed to ensure security while 750 traffic wardens and officers were also deployed to ensure foolproof traffic arrangements in Rawalpindi.
The spokesperson said over 270 elite commandos were on security duty for the long march and public meeting. Additional police forces were deployed on Murree Road and other routes of the rallies while the teams of Elite and Dolphin forces were patrolling in different areas to check the law and order situation. Over 200 snipers and police officials were stationed atop buildings on the route of the long march.
with additional input from APP
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2022.
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