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Pak govt may call in Army for ‘Azadi March’

Islamabad, Oct 19 (IANS) The Pakistan government has started devising a strategy to deploy armed forces in Islamabad during the October 31 ‘Azadi March’ which will call “to topple the ruling PTI government”.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl will take out the march in the federal capital against the Imran Khan-led government, which it has accused of coming to power through rigged elections, The Express Tribune reported.

All major opposition parties including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), ANP already announced their support for the protest march.

According to sources, a meeting was held at Khan’s personal residence in Bani Gala on law and order situation discussed different options to counter the march.

The participants of the meeting decided that government will hold talks with all opposition parties including Fazl.

But if the talks fail, Army troops will be deployed to protect the government buildings and important installations.

However, the Ministry of Interior will make the final decision if the armed forces were to be called.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government was trying its best to handle the issue through talks.

“However, if there is a law and order situation, the government will decide according to law to protect the life and property of people,” The Express Tribune quoted Awan as saying.

As precautionary measure, police in Islamabad have demanded more than 550 shipping containers to intercept the march before it enters the city. More riot gear was also asked for to cope with a deteriorating situation, if it arises, reports Dawn news.

The police have also prepared a contingency plan under which 120 freight containers will be used to seal Rawalpindi and Rangers and Punjab Constabulary (PC) personnel will assist the police if the law and order situation deteriorates.

A senior police official told Dawn news that the government was expected to communicate a final policy and strategy for the march on Monday.

Earlier, Army troops werecalled during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s 2014 and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) November 2017 sit-ins.



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CanIndia New Wire Service

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