Crackdown had blessings from the top | Pakistan Today

Crackdown had blessings from the top

The federal government on Thursday fine-tuned its strategy to deal with the Islamabad lockdown plan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in which it decided to take preemptive actions to help defuse the opposition’s protest scheduled to be held on November 2, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably.

A well placed source told this scribe that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the go-ahead to the strategy devised by the Ministry of Interior and it was decided that stern action should be taken to thwart any gathering of the opposition in violation of the Section 144 imposed by the government.

“During the meeting, the prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the security plan devised by the Interior Ministry. The prime minister gave approval to the strategy with some minute changes. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan would lead the government’s crackdown against violators of the Section 144 imposed in Islamabad,” the source added.

The source said that the prime minister directed that no one should be allowed to violate the Section 144 and the PTI should not be allowed to amass workers in the federal capital.

“No one would be allowed to hold the capital city hostage. Law enforcement agencies have been given a free hand to handle the situation,” the source added.

The source said that after the meeting at the Prime Minister’s House, the interior minister also held a meeting with the top bureaucracy and police officials to adjust changes agreed upon during the meeting.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and others attended the meeting.

The source said that the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Special Branch and Security Branches had on the government’s directives already prepared the lists of PTI workers and leaders in three separate categories for crackdown.

The source said that Secretary Interior Punjab Maj (r) Azam Suleman had also briefed the prime minister on the security arrangements of the Punjab government. These lists carry the names of the active workers of the PTI and all arrangements have been put in place by the regional police to ensure no worker of the party could leave for Islamabad for November 2 lockdown.

“The federal and Punjab governments have also formed various panels of the lawyers who would make sure that the arrested PTI workers could not be able to get bails from the courts so as they could not get free and then reach Islamabad for the lockdown move,” the source added.

Another source told Pakistan Today that the Islamabad administration would also ensure that the PTI workers could not cut the main arteries from the rest of the country.

“Brute police force would be used to disperse the PTI workers if needed,” the source maintained. The source also added that following the police crackdown against PTI workers, the senior PML-N leaders team of federal ministers, led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and comprising of Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khawaja Asif, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and others would meet the senior journalists at Punjab House today (Friday) to brief them on the reasons leading to the police crackdown on the PTI workers,” the source concluded.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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