Capital girds for long march with LEAs surge

Political tension is growing in the country as Islamabad was put on high alert after PTI chief Imran Khan finally announced the launching of a fresh movement from October 28 (Friday) to press the government to announce snap polls.

According to officials, the interior ministry has already decided to deploy around 30,000 police, rangers, and para-military troops in Islamabad and not allow protesters to enter the Red Zone near the parliament building.

President’s House, Prime Minister's House, ministers’ offices, parliament, and other important buildings, including foreign embassies, are located in the red-zone.

With forces about to roll into Islamabad and the government on an anxious vigil, the scenario has cast the nation’s capital back to a familiar state of affairs witnessed on the eve of PTI’s May 25 long march that saw intense showdown and crackdown.

According to a notice issued by the interior ministry on Wednesday, the Islamabad police have completed their preparation for the long march.

The notice stated that a total of 13,086 officers, including two deputy inspector generals of police, four senior superintendents of police and 11 superintendents of police will be posted at the long march venue. Thirty assistant superintendents of police and deputy superintendents of police will also be posted.

Moreover, 4,265 Frontier Corps officers, 3,600 Rangers personnel and 1,022 policemen from the Sindh police will be on duty during the march.

The authorities also sent hundreds of containers into Islamabad to barricade all entry points before the arrival of demonstrators.

The officers will be provided 616 tear gas guns, 50,050 shells, 611 twelve-bore guns and 36,700 rounds. Likewise, 2,430 masks and 374 vehicles will also be given to the police.

All police officers and personnel have been instructed to remain unarmed.

Furthermore, on the direction of the interior ministry, the Pakistan Railways (PR) prepared a list of 400 railway police personnel to thwart the long march.

The ministry had asked for a force of 2,000 personnel from the railway police authorities, sources said but added that due to the lack of enough personnel, only 400 personnel from all eight divisions of the railways could be gathered.

The march’s commencement date was announced on Tuesday by Imran. “We will gather at Liberty Chowk at 11am on Friday, and set off for Islamabad,” he had said.

“We will stay peaceful. If any disruption comes, it would be from the other side, not ours. We are aiming for soft revolution. We are not going to Islamabad to create any mischief,” Imran assured, adding that despite all his peaceful intentions he was ready for arrest as well.

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