Islamabad: After Jamiat Ulema-E-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Fazlur Rehman’s message to the members of the government’s reconciliation committee that he will listen to them only when they bring along with them Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation, it is now clear that time for negotiations is over and the JUI-F-led opposition parties are set to hold Freedom March in the D-Chowk of Islamabad on October 31.
Smaller rallies and corner meetings, however, will start across the country from Monday which will culminate in the long march on Islamabad.
District Administration of Islamabad has been making plans to confront the marchers. Interior Minister Brig (R) Ijaz Shah while chairing a high-level meeting on Friday gave the police and the administration a freehand to deal with the situation.
He, however, directed them to exercise maximum restraint and avoid use of force as long as the marchers remained peaceful.
It was decided in the meeting to block all Islamabad entrance points from October 29 so that ‘miscreants’ could not reach Islamabad from other cities.
Senior officials of Police, District Administration, law enforcing agencies attended the meeting.
Officials of the regulating body of over 450 schools and colleges of Islamabad — Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) — also attended the meeting.
Later, while talking to Gulf News, a senior official of the FDE who attended the meeting said it was also deliberated if schools, colleges and universities of the federal capital should be closed next week as nearly half of the teachers, students and transport that provides them pick and drop service come from neighbouring city of Rawalpindi.
It would be difficult for them to reach Islamabad on and after October 27, he said. “Though a final decision will be taken by the District Administration, yet we have given our feedback to them,” said the official.
According to the police plan presented in the meeting, Islamabad will be divided into three zones of security.
The first zone will deploy 2,000 police personnel while the second and third zone will deploy 1,000 Frontier Corps and 1,000 Rangers respectively while around 5,000 police reserve force will be on call to meet any emergent situation, according to the plan.
It was also decided to cordon off Red Zone with barbed wire and water cannons will be deployed to block protesters’ entry.
Meanwhile, the district administration has parked shipping containers along the entrance and exit points of Islamabad and according to Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Hamza Shafqat these points will be sealed on a short notice.
Islamabad police have demanded more than 550 shipping containers to intercept the march before it enters the city. The demand was made by zonal superintendents of police City, Saddar, Industrial Area and Rural to the police’s logistics division.
The city zone has also requisitioned 250 containers while the other three zones have sought 100 each. The logistics department has ordered a vendor to arrange 450 containers, according to a senior police official adding a request is ready for further requirements.