ISLAMABAD: Barricades have been installed at different entry points of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, with a heavy contingent of police, and the paramilitary force to stop Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) from entering the capital as part of their long march on Islamabad today (October 22).
Announcing the long march on Thursday, the banned outfit said a “peaceful” procession would begin after Friday prayers to allegedly pressure the government to release its top leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.
In view of the long march, the authorities concerned have blocked the roads leading to Islamabad – including the road from the expressway and from Rawalpindi to Murree and from Rawalpindi Murree Road to Islamabad – using containers.
According to BOL News, traffic police have also advised citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Islamabad today. However, those who live in Islamabad or have to enter the city will be able to do so using the Peshawar Road IJP Road. Old Airport Road and Mall Road will also be open for all kinds of traffic. Additional traffic police personnel have been deployed at High Court Chowk, Kachehri and Mall Road to maintain a smooth traffic flow.
In the wake of this situation, Rangers and police personnel have been deployed on Faizabad Bridge with all the necessary equipment to dispel a possible mob-like situation.
Islamabad police have been instructed to prevent TLP protesters from entering the capital under any circumstances. The city will also be monitored by an air patrol unit. Islamabad police drone cameras will also monitor the situation on important and sensitive roads and highways, added BOL News.
The case of TLP
Following the publication of blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in France last year, TLP has also been demanding that the government expel the French ambassador and endorse a boycott of French products.
The group ended a similar protest in 2020 when the government made a deal with and agreed to support a boycott of French products and make a move in the parliament to expel the French ambassador. However, the deadline to make the parliamentary move expired on April 20.
A week before the deadline, Rizvi had told TLP workers in a video message that if the government failed to fulfil its promises, they should brace for a long march on the capital.
Police later arrested the TLP chief in Lahore last year, sparking nationwide protests by the group members. A TLP supporter had died and two police officers were beaten to death during the clashes. Rizvi was later charged with instigating murder.