Long march: Govt calls in Pakistan Army for protection of Islamabad's Red Zone

May 24, 2022

Federal govt as well as the govts of Sindh and Punjab have imposed Section 144

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Police officers guard a street where shipping containers have been used to block the road leading towards the Red Zone and parliament building, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 3, 2022. — Reuters/File


ISLAMABAD: Shortly after the government’s decision to stop PTI's 'Azadi March', Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah summoned the Pakistan Army for the security of the Red Zone in Islamabad, Geo News reported Tuesday, citing sources.

According to the sources, army personnel will be stationed at PM House and PM Office, the Supreme Court and other sensitive government buildings in the area.

All security arrangements will be handed over to the army, the sources said.

Section 144

Meanwhile, the federal government as well as the governments of Sindh and Punjab have imposed Section 144 — the power to issue an order absolute at once in urgent cases of apprehended danger — following the recent terrorist activities and possible threats.

Sindh

A copy of the notification issued by the Home Department, Government of Sindh

A notification issued by the Sindh Home Department stated that the government of Sindh, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 144 (6), hereby imposes a ban on assembly/gathering of five or more people, staging of, demonstrations and rallies throughout the province of Sindh for a period of thirty days with immediate effect.

“Inspector General of Police Sindh […] has informed that some political and other disgruntled elements are planning to trigger the acts of unlawful assembly with an intent to block roads, highways, and organisation of sit-ins (dharna) disturbing the smooth and peaceful pace of life of a common citizen of Sindh province,” the notification read.

"It has also been pointed out that these will further provide an opportunity to anti-social and anti-state elements trying to take any advantage through exploiting the prevalent politico-economic situation.”

Punjab

A copy of the notification issued by the Home Department, Government of Punjab

Meanwhile, the Punjab government stated in a notification that assemblies, rallies, gatherings and sit-ins could serve as a "soft target" for terrorist attacks.

"In view of the recent terrorist incidents across Pakistan, prevailing threat perception, specific threat warning, attacks on law enforcement personnel, threats to rule of law, likely damage to public and private property, public peace and order must be maintained by all means," the home department stated.

The notification added that there were sufficient grounds to impose Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, as immediate prevention and speedy remedy in the matter.

The notification mentioned that gathering of five or more five people except members of law enforcement agencies and carrying and displaying of all kinds of weapons, including licensed ones, were prohibited for a period of seven days.

Islamabad

Meanwhile, Section 144 has also been imposed in the federal capital for two months.

According to a notification, the restrictions have been extended up to one kilometre of the Red Zone.


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