PTI to descend on Faizabad today
After weeks of street campaigning across several cities of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) long march is due for a ‘climax’ at the Faizabad junction on the confluence of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Having survived an assassination attempt in Wazirabad on November 3, former prime minister and party chief Imran Khan is due to join the protesters in person for the first time in three weeks, having recovered sufficiently to travel.
Security and threats
The federal government and Punjab Police has warned that Imran continues to face a threat to his life and has advised him to plan cautiously any public appearance.
Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had on Friday said that there lies a possibility of another attack on Imran Khan during the long march.
Sanaullah had urged the PTI chief to cancel his Rawalpindi rally on November 26.
In this regard, the Punjab police has deployed around 8,000 police officers around the demonstration site.
On the other hand, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has erected a wall of shipping containers to block of pathways from Faizabad towards Islamabad to prevent any march from entering the ‘Red Zone’ which now covers almost all of Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the ICT Police late on Friday issued new traffic diversion instructions, closing the Bus Stand to Faizabad road until the culmination of the rally for public transport.
Further, Murree Road heading to Rawalpindi was also closed for traffic.
Traffic heading from Islamabad to Rawalpindi via 9th Avenue and IJP Junction were also diverted.
Precautions for Imran
Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has issued an advisory to ensure security for Imran.
The 28-point advisory, issued by Rawalpindi DIG advised that the traditional mode of announcing Imran Khan’s arrival to the venue and stage shall not be practiced.
Further, it advised the march organizers to use bullet proof rostrum and stage for Imran to address the crowd from. Moreover, it called for wearing a bullet proof vest.
The people on the stage were directed to restrict their movement to a specific area of the the stage. While all those present on the stage would have to be preapproved with a list drawn.
Sufficient distance would be maintained between the public and the stage.
Imran was advised not to exit his bullet proof vehicle at public place. Further, Imran’s vehicle must follow its specified route.
The advisory said that no private guard or armed person would be allowed at the venue.
Further, those coming to join the main rally will only be allowed to do so after undergoing a thorough search and walk-through gates.
High alert in Lahore
In view of Imran’s departure from Lahore for Rawalpindi, high alert has been issued for eight hospitals of Lahore.
General, Jinnah, Services and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Mian Munshi Hospital, Shahdara and Children’s Hospital have been put on alert.
Medical staff at hospitals in Rawalpindi have also been issued an alert to deal with any emergency situation.
Capital weapon extended
Meanwhile, the Islamabad administration has announced to extend a ban on the display of weapons in the city for two months.
ICT Administration explained that the decision was made to ensure law and order and to protect the lives of residents.