As the sit-in at Faizabad Interchange lingers on, the security expenses to contain the protesting religious activists keep on increasing.
The Islamabad administration reportedly has been spending Rs 10 million daily on the deployment of security personnel around the interchange. The escalating costs have also led to difficulties in feeding the law enforcement personnel deployed for the security of the area.
The government, that had been supplying food and other necessities to security personnel on credit, is perplexed as the creditors have declined to cooperate unless they receive earlier payments.
Daily life in the capital has been disrupted for over 18 days by protesters belonging to religious parties — including the Tehreek-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST) — who are calling for the sacking of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid and stern action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017. The amendment had earlier been deemed a ‘clerical error’ and has already been rectified.
The protesters have occupied the Faizabad Bridge which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road, both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities. The Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) deadline for the government to remove the protesters expired on Thursday.
To contain the protesting zealots, authorities have reportedly acquired services of 3,000 personnel from the Frontier Constabulary (FC), 4,000 from Punjab Police and 1,000 Azad Kashmir Police for deployment.
Only the cost of providing food to these officials reaches 2.5 million rupees on a daily basis; the expense for 200 rented containers and vehicles and fuel is not even added to this amount.
On the other hand, a private media outlet reported that the Ministry of Finance has not released an additional grant for previous sit-ins. There had been regular expenditures on different protests and sit-ins from September 7 to November 22.
The two protests of Jamaat-e-Islami’s and Sunni Tehreek in the month September had cost the government over Rs 30 million in expenses.