Possible clash: Baton-wielding PAT workers ‘ready’ to take on security personnel

Published: August 31, 2014
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Security members have been asked to remain on high-alert. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

Security members have been asked to remain on high-alert. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

As thousands of security personnel roamed greenbelts on the Constitution Avenue, a large number of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers sit in organised queues, botns lined up in front of their crossed legs, ready to be used on their ‘rivals’ in case of a possible clash.

The PAT’s ‘security force’ vowed to protect not only their own supporters but also workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in case of a clash with the police.

Dr Awais Gillani strolled with a wireless set in hand, passing instructions to the PAT security team on how to react in case of a clash with security personnel.

Gillani, a doctor by profession, said that a total of 5,000 youngsters have voluntarily left universities and jobs to be part the PAT security team.

The team, mostly comprising young men in their 20s, is all part of the student union of Mihajul Quran.

As thousands of youngsters signed up to join the march, the security team underwent training before heading towards the capital with the ‘Inqilab March’.

Gillani explained that their tiers of security start from where the police cordon ends adjacent to the parliament.

The front tier consisting of 100 men divided on either side of the greenbelts.

They sat under the scorching sun guarding the sit-in.  Accessorised with head bands, they were geared with gas masks dangling from their necks and batons rested next to their crossed legs.

“A larger number of security members are engaged in the middle encircling the crowd and the container while the final group guards the tail end,” said Gillani.

Thousands have been trained in self-defence, protection of others, first aid and commuting serious patients towards ambulances in case of medical emergencies.

Students sit through six hour shifts on a rotation, assuring that the members on security remain well rested.

Gillani said that as the situation has intensified over the past few days, the PAT workers engaged in the security duty also met with the Insaf Student Federation security staff.

“We are committed to facilitating and helping each another in times of need. If the clash extends towards the PTI side, we will help them,” said Rana, another PAT security in charge.

A total of 1,000 women have also been trained to facilitate women at the sit-in.

“All the girls underwent similar training. Those who have joined from other cities and are voluntarily helping out on the security front
have gotten themselves registered and underwent training to be part of this protest and sit-in,” said a PAT supporter standing at the women side.

Gillani said that as both the parties come closer to making their final announcements, both security teams have been asked to be on ‘high alert’. He said that at the same time, they have been asked to avoid clashes.

“We are not expecting a clash. We have been told to remain peaceful. But in case of any clash, we are ready to fight,” said Gillani.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2014.

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