ISLAMABAD: The government spent more than Rs800 million on security arrangements for the joint sit-ins of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in Islamabad last year.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar told the National Assembly on Friday that the government incurred additional expenditure of Rs877.8 million in providing security to the two parties at D-Chowk.
In his written reply, the minister informed the house that expenditure was made for security-related issues including additional deployment of staff and maintaining law and order in and around the sit-in venue.
PPP legislator Musarat Rafique Mahesar had enquired about the government expenditure on the sit-ins.
The four-month long PTI sit-in against the alleged rigging in 2013 general elections concluded on December 17, following the Peshawar school attack. The PAT had wound up its 68-day-long protest camp on October 21.
The minister said it was not possible to calculate the expenditure separately for the two parties.
The federal government had deployed around 25,000 security officials when the protesters started their march from Lahore on August 14. The cost was mainly incurred on transportation, food, and lodging of the security personnel who remained in the capital until December 17.
To another question, Parliamentary secretary for Interior Marriyum Aurangzeb informed the House that the government was planning to earmark a dedicated area in Islamabad to hold protests.
“A proposal is under consideration for earmarking an area called Democracy Park and Speech Corner in Islamabad for protest demonstrations and public rallies,” she informed.
She said most probably land for the purpose would be earmarked at Fatima Jinnah Park, commonly known as F-9 park.
She said the idea of a dedicated area for protests came after the PTI-PAT sit-ins.
“Public life remained suspended in Islamabad for almost four-month, until the protest culminated,” Aurangzaib said. She said general public experienced worst inconvenience due to the protests.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2015.
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