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July 13, 2018

Nawaz Sharif’s arrival: Three-pronged strategy devised to maintain peace


July 13, 2018

LAHORE: Lahore police have increased the number of the security personnel from 2,500 to 10,000 to maintain law and order and to cope with any untoward situation in the provincial metropolis on Friday (today).

Keeping in view the bomb blast in Peshawar and expected law and order situation on the arrival of former Premier Mian Nawaz Sharif, Capital City Police Officer BA Nasir revised the security plan and ordered all the divisional SPs, DSPs and SHOs to utilise all available resources to maintain peace.

He said anybody found involved in illegal activities and violating the code of conduct of Election Commission of Pakistan would be dealt with an iron hand. He also alerted the Anti-Riot Unit, PRU and Dolphin Squad to conduct effective patrolling in the sensitive areas of the city.

The Lahore capital city police officer also held a meeting at his office on Thursday. Giving details of the security plan, a senior officer said that there were a few reports that the PML-N would manage to gather from 100,000 to 200,000 supporters to welcome Nawaz Sharif at the airport. At least 30 to 40 percent of the party supporters will be mobilised from Lahore while the rest will be transported from throughout the country, and the task has been assigned to the ticket-holders supervised by the senior PML-N leaders.

To contain this gathering, the authorities have devised a three-pronged strategy to maintain peace. Police have implemented the first strategy of detaining the activists and the leaders of PML-N since the midnight of Wednesday. The second strategy is related to the sealing of the entry points of the city and Allama Iqbal International Airport. The third is to block main arteries and highways, including GT Road and the motorway.

The police high command has decided to detain the third layer leadership of the PML-N, those who were connected at the grassroots, particularly the local government representatives. In the crackdown last night, police did not arrest ex-MNA Waheed Alam and former Provincial Minister Bilal Yaseen despite a protest demonstration by them at Shafiqabad police station against the arrest of their three UC chairpersons. In above the 150 arrests, there was no former MPA, MNA or minister. The level of the arrests would intensify on Thursday night, a police officer claimed. It will also expand to other parts of the province. He said that only in Lahore there might be arrestes of 2,000 to 4,000 activists and leaders. Besides these arrests, the city will be locked down at 14 points. Containers for the purpose have been acquired and were placed at different chowks of the city. The Lahore airport will also be sealed on the day and heavy contingent of police and Rangers will be deployed inside and outside the airport. Rangers’ deployment at all the entry points had also been increased. Containers have also been placed on roadsides there. Alongside Rangers, 10,000 police officials, squads of Anti-Riot Force have been deployed for maintenance of law and order situation.

Contrary to the this plan, a senior police officer confided to The News that all this hassle was going to serve as an eye-wash as the authorities had totally different plan. He claimed that the plane was going to be re-routed to Islamabad and from there Nawaz Sharif will be flown to Adiala Jail.

Earlier, NAB Lahore Director General Saleem Shahzad had written to NAB Chairperson Javed Iqbal for provision of helicopter to arrest Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif at the Lahore airport and fly them to Islamabad. The NAB chairperson had sanctioned the permission. NAB had formed two teams to arrest the accused persons; one was to stay in Lahore and the other at Islamabad airport.

DIG Operations Shahzad Akbar said that the arrests were made to ensure safe and fair elections according to the directions of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He said that the arrested activists belonged to different parties and were miscreants. Their arrests were mandatory to ensure security for elections after Peshawar blast in which Haroon Bilour and 21 other innocent people lost their lives, he added. The DIG claimed that Lahore police were ensuring impartiality ahead of the elections.

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