ISLAMABAD: It seems like multiple marches on the capital and massive protests threatening the sanctity of the red zone and the diplomatic enclave are burning a hole in the pocket of Islamabad’s police who have sought an additional Rs70 million from the federal government to feed additional contingents of personnel and hire shipping containers to block the path of protesters.
In the latest of such protests which the capital’s finest has to deal with comes from firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi who is leading a rally from Lahore to Islamabad. Rizvi and his followers are angry about the issue of Khatm-e-Nabuwat. The rally, which comes on the heels of a similar rally by another religious group, is expected to reach Islamabad on Wednesday after it departed Lahore on Monday morning.
The Islamabad Police, meanwhile, has written to the finance ministry seeking a supplementary grant of Rs70.495 million.
The letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, says they require Rs43.9 million to pay for the food of thousands of police personnel — from Islamabad and the Punjab — which would be deployed for the protest duty. A further Rs14.5 million would be needed for hiring vehicles and the shipping containers which will be used for barricading roads and fortifying the red zone.
A further Rs4.4 million has been sought to rent residential buildings to accommodate the extra contingents of law-enforcement personnel. Moreover, Rs5.5 million have been requisitioned to pay for the fuel which will be used. Another Rs2 million has been sought for covering miscellaneous expenses.
“There is an apprehension that the protests may create law and order situation in the Islamabad Capital Territory… Islamabad Police has to manage the boarding, lodging, feeding, transportation of police personnel deployed on security duty and placement of containers for the occasion. As the available resources of ICT Police are limited, therefore Supplementary Grant of Rs70.495 million may please be got sanctioned on priority basis so that adequate security arrangements could be made,” the letter reads.
The letter further clarifies that the money will only buy these services for a mere seven-days, adding that if the protests extend beyond that time frame, additional funds may be required.
A police officer told The Express Tribune that they were deploying around 6,000 personnel, including those from the Frontier Constabulary and Punjab Police, for security. This is far more than the officials deployed to maintain security in the capital on key religious festivals such as Eid.
“One container costs us Rs8,500 a day and 120 containers have been in police use for weeks now,” the officer remarked while requesting not to be named since he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The containers were first placed along the roads and around Red Zone before a rally entered the capital late last month. These giant metal boxes are still lying along many roads in the capital.
The capital police had spent over Rs326 million to provide food to its personnel during the four-month-long 2014 sit-in of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).
A supplementary grant of Rs695.4 million had been released to the police to manage the massive protest.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2017.