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Islamabad likely to be cut off from rest of country ahead of PTI’s march

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital is likely to be cut off from the rest of the country on May 25, no matter who controls its entry and exit points – government or Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Officers of the capital police said that two plans had been made under the direction of the government: either to allow the PTI marchers to enter the capital or intercept them at the entry points.

However, so far a final decision has not been taken. But in either case, Red Zone will be sealed except the lone entry/exit point on Margalla Road.

“Plan ‘A’ will be put in place if the government allows the PTI to enter the capital but in this case the marchers will not be allowed to cross Zero Point,” the officials said.

Faizabad, Bhara Kahu, Rawat and Golra will be sealed by putting containers and deployment of police.

Plan ‘B’ will be executed if the government does not allow the PTI to enter the capital. Under this plan, all entry points will be sealed and the marchers will be intercepted on Attock and Jhelum bridges.

Besides, the motorways and G.T. Road will be blocked and PTI’s local leaders, hardcore activists and workers will be arrested.

In this regard, a list has been prepared containing over 400 local leaders, activists and workers, the officers said. Their arrest will begin whenever directives are issued by the government.

Moreover, places have been identified where PTI and its student wing activists are hiding after reaching the capital from other parts of the country.

Over 300 activists, majority of them from Insaf Student Federation (ISF), were staying on Kasuri Road near the residence of former prime minister Imran Khan in Banigala.

The officers said a plan had been made to arrest Mr Khan last Friday night but it remained unsuccessful. The PTI chairman was in Multan that day in connection with a public gathering. They said well-equipped contingent of the capital police reached Banigala to arrest him.

However, the police plan was leaked to the PTI leadership after which Mr Khan did not return to the capital. Over the development, the capital police chief and the SSP operations were removed from their posts.

Meanwhile, containers were brought back to the capital to seal the Red Zone and entry points of the city, the officers said.

So far, 500 containers have been given to the police and 300 were required to seal the Red Zone which has already been started and will be completed by Monday midnight or Tuesday morning.

The lone entry point to the Red Zone on Margalla Road will remain open but a contingent of police and paramilitary troops will be deployed there.

In another move, all kinds of leaves except emergency have been cancelled for the capital police, the officers said.

Meanwhile, the capital police have requested a contingent of 8,000 Punjab Constabulary personnel along with 2,000 Anti-Riot Unit officials from Punjab, 2,000 officials from Sindh and 4,000 Rangers personnel.

Besides, police contingents from Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir have also been sought.

Moreover, the capital police also sought dozens of prisoner vans and water cannon vehicles from their counterparts in other provinces.

The capital police have 20,000 long and short range teargas shells while thousands of rubber bullets have been sought.

The capital administration on Monday also approached the police seeking its views about the sit-in of the PTI schedule in the capital.

In a letter sent from the office of the district magistrate, views of the senior superintendent of police, assistant inspector general of police Special Branch and the assistant commissioner Industrial Area were sought.

Replies from the three officers were immediately sought to take further necessary action.

Earlier, the PTI Islamabad chapter, in a letter to the deputy commissioner, intimated about a public gathering on Srinagar Highway and requested for provision of security and other facilities. It stated that PTI had decided to organise a peaceful gathering/sit-in on May 25 between the H-9 and G-9 area.

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