Showdown imminent: Police, containers deployed

Thousands of AJK policemen arrive as back up.

Muzaffar Mukhtar August 11, 2014


Heavy contingents of police guarded the entry points to the twin cities and Minhajul Quran offices at Chandni Chowk on Sunday.

The police said there was no plan to use force against the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers.

Security agencies also arrested three suspected militants in a raid near Chaklala Railway Station on Sunday morning and seized two suicide vests and explosives from their possession. The senior superintendent of police (SSP)’s office said the Inter-Service Intelligence nabbed the suspects onboard a Lahore-bound train.

Security has been bolstered at the railway station after the arrests. Police commandoes have been deployed and are checking every vehicle entering the station. All entry and exit points are being manned by police officials who are checking the passengers and their luggage.

Rawalpindi police spokesperson Raja Fiaz told The Express Tribune that security has been heightened amid fears that the terrorists could take advantage of the political situation. He said all entry and exit points were open for traffic, but added that containers could be placed at key points if needed.

The department has also cancelled leave for all police officials and the force has been told to be prepared for any emergency.

The police ranks have swelled with about 1,000 reinforcements from Azad Jammu and Kashmir coming to assist cops in the garrison city. Approximately 10,000 policemen will be called in from other cities on August 14.

The police have also placed containers along different roads in the garrison city and have allegedly been using private buses to transport the officials.

Muhammad Arif, a driver from Bhakkar, told The Express Tribune that he was coming from Bhakar to Islamabad when the police intercepted his bus forcing the passengers out near Pirwadhai bus terminal. He said the police are using his bus but did not give him any compensation. He added that the police were illegally seizing other private buses as well.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Police on Sunday started blocking entrances to the capital along IJ Principal Road by erecting containers. One side of the road was also blocked with containers near Kattarian Pul. A police officer who asked not to be named said the road might be blocked on August 12.

The Red Zone and the Diplomatic Enclave have already been sealed and security turned over to the army. Around 15,000 police officials will be on duty on August 14 in Islamabad.

Police officials said they have different plans for different situations.

“We have a contingency plan and can deal with any situation, but the final decision on how to tackle the ‘Azadi March’ has yet to be taken,” said Islamabad Operations SSP Muhammad Ali Nekokara.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th,2014.

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