Officials to arrange aerial and CCTV surveillance, inflammatory slogans disallowed.
As protests are expected across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on November 22 (today) and 23, the Home and Tribal Affairs Department has drawn up stringent security plans to avoid any possibility of violence or chaos.
After the drone strike in Hangu Thursday morning and the recent violence in Rawalpindi on Muharram 10, demonstrations are expected to be held across the province on Friday. Additionally, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), along with coalition partners, is set to protest against Nato supplies and drone strikes on Saturday.
Keeping in view possible riots on Friday, an official notification has been issued by the K-P home department. “Despite assurance given by the organisers of a protest in Kohat against the Rawalpindi incident, the participants turned violent and a splinter group approached places of worship. One constable and two civilians lost their lives when the enraged mob set ablaze shops in Tirah Bazaar. This could have been averted had proper precautionary measures been taken and places of worship insulated.”
The department has issued fresh instructions to all officials concerned, directing them to ensure that organisers maintain peace. There will be aerial and CCTV monitoring of all related protests, rallies or demonstrations.
“All places of worship shall be properly insulated, streets covered with heavy deployment and zero tolerance be exercised if someone attempts to damage property or life during the protest,” adds the notification. The department has also given strict instructions to not allow inflammatory slogans during the demonstrations.
Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) has called for a countrywide protest – their demonstration will take place in the provincial capital on Friday. In a press statement by ASWJ, it was said the rally will start from the main mosque in Namak Mandi and continue down various routes before a sit-in at Swokarno Chowk.
The Nowshera district administration has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code across the district on Friday to avoid any untoward situation.
A notification was issued by Nowshera Deputy Commissioner (DC) Zakaullah Khattak, who directed police to beef up security around mosques and imambargahs and to strictly disallow any inflammatory speeches.
According to the notification, the Nowshera DC received information that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami, ASWJ and Traders Union Risalpur would hold protests after Friday prayers, where some elements may cause law and order problems.
If someone tried to violate the law, he or she will be punished under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The DC also appealed to security officials and religious leaders to remain alert towards any anti-social elements.
Meanwhile, security measures for Friday’s (today) demonstration will also be adopted for PTI’s protest against drone strikes on Saturday, directed the home department.
A cabinet meeting has also been convened tomorrow to discuss the protest on November 23.
PTI and other parties in the K-P coalition government, including Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan, are ready to take to the streets if the United States (US) does not end its drone campaign in the tribal areas.
The three parties decided to block Nato supply routes after a drone strike occurred at a point that, the centre claimed, was crucial to talks with the Taliban. PTI Chairman Imran Khan has accused the US of sabotaging the peace initiative.