The Rawalpindi Police appeared to be relieved after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) marches reached Islamabad without a confrontation in Rawapindi.
The deployment of police was comparatively less in the garrison city, especially on Benazir Bhutto Road as all eyes were now on Aabpara, where the two group of protesters have settled down.
A police high-up told The Express Tribune even though the force is on red alert, they are not worried. “The rallies are now Islamabad Police’s headache,” he said.
Pertinent here to mention is the lack of coordination between Rawalpindi and Islamabad police forces when thousands of PAT activists turned up and made a ruckus before Tahirul Qadri’s flight was diverted to Lahore in June this year. The protesters had injured dozens of policemen that day.
The Pindi police were happy to get some sleep after days of tense anticipation of the ‘Azadi March’.
“I could not sleep for two days before the arrival of the march. I will now catch up with my lost sleep,” said a cop who was deputed at Faizabad interchange on Saturday.
Rawalpindi City Police Officer Humayun Bashir Tarar said even though the march has passed the police is alert to deal with any emergency.
Reinforcements were called in from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and other districts of Punjab to deal with PTI and PAT marchers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.