PTI's 'Azadi March' likely to affect school exams in Islamabad

May 24, 2022

Parents dread violence in capital city, suggest virtual exams; govt takes stringent security steps to tackle PTI march

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Supporters of PTI attend a celebration rally in Islamabad on July 30, 2017. — Reuters


ISLAMABAD: The ongoing annual exams of the public and private schools in the federal capital may be affected by PTI's "Azadi March" as the regulators for public and private education sector haven't decided anything about the examination schedule yet, The News reported Sunday.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday announced to march to Islamabad on May 25 under PTI's anti-government campaign seeking early elections.

Dreading the violence during the Azadi March, parents are resentful of the 'indecision' of education regulators and have suggested virtual exams.

PTI activists and supporters will meet their leader Imran Khan at Sri Nagar Highway to begin the march — demanding the immediate dissolution of the National Assembly and a date for new elections — and stay in Islamabad until their demands are met. Keeping PTI's plan and the escalation of tension it may cause in the federal capital in mind, the fears of parents do seem genuine.

Most private educational institutions are located in sectors H-8, H-9, H-10 and H-11 alongside the highway, which starts at Murree Road (Kashmir Chowk) and ends near Tarnol towards Peshawar.

Muhammad Kamaluddin, a government official from the G-11/4 area, told 'The News' that his two sons were enrolled in an H-11 school and were currently sitting for their annual exams.

He said since the PTI's Azadi March is to be held on the Srinagar Highway, he was unlikely to take his sons to school on Wednesday because of blockades or diversions and fears of violence.

The resident demanded of the education regulators to clear the confusion about the ongoing annual exams to the relief of parents, who, he said, were worried about both the education and life of their children.

Jehan Ara, a mother of four, also complained about the failure of authorities to take a decision about exams ahead of the PTI's imminent long march in Islamabad and said it showed the poor state of affairs at the education as well as interior ministry.

She ruled out the possibility of the continuation of in-person school exams in light of the volatile situation in the country in general and in the city in particular and said just like the COVID-19 pandemic days, exams should be held online to the relief of students, especially minors.

The Federal Directorate of Education, the regulator for government schools in Islamabad, has already declared summer holidays in primary schools from May 16 due to a heatwave.

Govt takes stringent security steps to tackle PTI march

Meanwhile, the Islamabad police has finalised a comprehensive plan to check the movement of PTI activists and keep them away from the federal capital, The News reported, citing officials responsible for maintaining law and order in the capital city.

Following the announcement of PTI's long march, the government directed the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) to make a strategy to counter the situation. Following the orders, the LEAs dismantled all the PTI camps set up ahead of the march.

The ministry sources said the Punjab administration would clamp down on the mob on its way to Islamabad. “The law-enforcement agencies would use all resources to stop the mob from moving towards Islamabad,” they added.

The Islamabad police chief has submitted a comprehensive plan for checking the mob and demanded the provision of more or less 25,000 force members, including constabularies, anti-riot units, Rangers, women commandos and anti-terrorism units from different provinces, with their complete command systems in his hands, sources told this correspondent.

At the initial stage, leaves of the police personnel have been cancelled, except for emergency cases. A notification in this regard has been issued by the police headquarters, saying, “All kinds of leaves, except emergency are banned (including station leave on gazetted holidays) from May 22, 2022 till further orders.”

The Islamabad police, after holding meetings with different law enforcement and intelligence agencies, decided to maintain peace at every cost, the sources said and added that the military troops could be called in to assist the civil administration keeping in view the law and order situation.

“Sort of anti-dharna force – comprising Rangers, Punjab Constabulary, police commandos, anti-terrorism squad and women commandos – would be constituted to clear the venue in Red Zone, especially around D-Chowk till National Assembly Square and entire Constitution Avenue would be cleared; however, the entry and exit traffic points would be closed to keep normality,” the sources said.

The interior ministry sources said, “According to the requirement, heavy forces of law-enforcement agencies would be requisitioned from different provinces to place at sensitive points including Red Zone and Diplomatic Enclave,” adding that about 22,000 personnel from different provinces would be call in to help the Islamabad police. They would include 8,000 cops of the Punjab Constabulary including 2,000 personnel of anti-riots unit, 2,000 personnel from Sindh, 500 women police commandos and an extra force of 4,000 personnel of rangers and other paramilitary forces have been requested to maintain law and order during the PTI march on Islamabad.

“For the possible detentions of ‘miscreants’, about 100 prisoner vans and 15,000 shells of teargas have been demanded by the law enforcement agencies to counter attempts of creating unrest in the city,” the ministry sources maintained.

The police officers visited the sensitive location of the Capital including the Red Zone, which has already been containerized and surrounded with barbed wires and the sensitive points entering from Rawalpindi or IJ Principal Road.

Newly appointed Inspector General of the Federal Capital Police Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, when contacted, said “Red Zone, especially the Diplomatic Enclave, would strongly be protected and the security of the most sensitive zone would not be compromised”.

The law-enforcement agencies have dismantled camps, installed by the PTI near Imran Khan's Bani Gala residence to avoid any untoward incident as the intelligence agencies had declared those camps a security threat.

The PTI management affirmed that over 4,000 PTI activists could stay in those camps. Entire arrangement of security would be finalised by Tuesday, the sources concluded. Our correspondent adds from Lahore: The Lahore police launched a crackdown on the PTI workers and leaders on Monday to stop them from moving to Islamabad in connection with party’s long march.


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