ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: With the long march of Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) just around the corner, Islamabad Police have decided to equip personnel deployed at the capital’s entrances with body cameras to ensure accountability during the protest .
As a preventative measure, the police also decided to deploy officers at the entry points and strategically important locations in the federal capital. If protesters tried to attack police officers or vandalize public property during the long march, the audio and video recordings from these cameras will be used to identify and catch the culprits.
This isn’t the first time police have opted to use body cameras for the sake of transparency. During the PTI government’s tenure, following complaints of misconduct and extortion, police decided to equip officers at checkpoints with body cameras.
However, it will be the first time cameras will be used in Islamabad to address law and order situations and identify potential wrongdoers.
According to the information, at least 10 cameras were procured in the first phase to test their performance and the number of cameras will be increased after the pilot phase. These cameras are equipped with night vision capabilities and can record audio in addition to video.
Likewise, the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel will be equipped with modern technology to carry out their duties during the long march.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced on Saturday that he would personally take part in the long march on Nov. 26 in Rawalpindi. On the same day, in a report submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the capital city police highlighted the risk of an “accidental confrontation” with Azad Jammu and Kashmir police personnel and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who have been providing security protection for the PTI long march.
ICT police meeting
At a meeting chaired by IG Akbar Nasir Khan on Sunday, the capital’s police took stock of the security situation emerging from the expected march of PTI supporters on Islamabad, according to a police statement on its Twitter handle.
Police shared details about the account and said no one was allowed to take the law into their hands. They added that given the possible march towards Islamabad and the Red Zone, the government could block Rawalpindi’s entry into Islamabad on November 26 – the day when supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan will gather in Rawalpindi.
They said permission from the Islamabad government was a prerequisite for any political activity in the federal capital. They added: “Police, FC and Rangers are deployed to ensure Red Zone security and security is being enhanced.”
“Considering the terrorist threat, search operations [by law enforcers] will be carried out throughout the district,” the police said, adding that strict measures would be taken in the event of any obstacles.
The CPO headquarters will personally oversee on-duty personnel throughout the district and take care of their room, board and other facilities, the statement said, adding that DIG-level officials will also arrange facilities for personnel seconded to Islamabad personally review the long march.
Meanwhile, PTI leaders Asad Umar and Shibli Faraz held a meeting at the City Police Office in Rawalpindi on Sunday to discuss security protocols put in place by provincial police to maintain law and order during the long PTI march. Sources say PTI leaders met with Rawalpindi’s CPO at his office to discuss security protocol for the protesters.
It was the third meeting between PTI leaders and the district police to discuss issues related to security and the route of the long march. The PTI has planned to hold a public meeting near Shamsabad on November 26th.
Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi, a PTI leader and member of the provincial assembly, is expected to apply to the district administration for permission to hold the public assembly near the Survey of Pakistan building, which is near the Faizabad interchange.
The Islamabad administration has made a heavy deployment of law enforcement personnel at the Faizabad Interchange to manage the law and order situation.
The Rawalpindi Police have already drawn up a security plan that would see elite commandos and snipers stationed at the container of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other leaders and continuously maintain a three-tier security regime.
Plainclothes security personnel will accompany the main procession for surveillance while government hospitals are on alert.
Published in Dawn, November 21, 2022