- Sheharyar Afridi says govt wants to ward off an impression that residents are living in a garrison or a fort
ISLAMABAD: Scores of checkposts will be removed from the capital as the federal government has decided to rid the citizens and visitors of Islamabad of undue delays, humiliation and strict checking at these inspection points located at main avenues and service roads.
Many of these checkposts have been removed on the orders of State Minister for Interior Affairs Sheharyar Khan Afridi, whose ministry is responsible for the safety and security of the capital as law and order has been a provincial matter.
The state minister has directed Islamabad Police chief Jan Muhammad to remove all the checkposts in order to ensure that the citizens were not living under a pall of fear, and can continue their commutes without hindrance. The barriers and checkposts will be removed from the capital soon.
It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to see Islamabad as a safe capital and wants the Islamabad Police to be capable to secure its capital while warding off the impression that residents of the capital are living in a garrison or a fort.
About what’s their plan to counter any terror attempt and maintain law and order situation in the capital, SSP Operations Najeebur Rehman Bhagvi said that the Capital Police was fully empowered to tackle any threat and challenge. He said that the checkposts were part and parcel of security and policing establishment. “We have police stations and then Chokis, and then police check posts, we manage them according to the security situations,” he said.
“If security situation is better we remove these checkposts accordingly,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Interior Affairs has issues some directions in this regard. In August 2013, a lone gunman managed to reach the main Blue Area road and held the entire area of the capital hostage for two days. In a bizarre turn of events in the capital, the armed man holding his own family hostage embroiled security agencies in a tense standoff near the city’s red zone.
The five-hour-long standoff ended in an odd fashion when a political leader botched an attempt to take down the gunman, only to prompt police snipers to shoot and incapacitate him. The drama began when the gunman managed to breach the security cordon and enter the Jinnah Avenue in a rented car. Armed with an automatic and a semi-automatic weapon, he resorted to aerial fire after he was stopped by the traffic police for driving on the wrong side of the road.
About the preparedness in any similar case, SSP Bugvi said that many specialised units like CTF (Counter-Terrorism Force), an anti-rioting force, have been made since 2013. In future, “we are fully prepared to deal with such instances,” he said. Prime Minister Khan wants police to assure no such drama is staged in future while ensuring that the capital remains a modern city free of fear and undue hindrances.