Red Zone is red line for PTI, PAT: Nisar

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Saturday that the Red Zone was the red line for both the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and those who crossed the line would be dealt with by force.

“There are serious security alerts from the sensitive intelligence agencies and friendly countries informing of terrorist attacks on the leadership of PTI and PAT as well as on their rallies,” Ch Nisar Ali Khan said, adding that the intelligence agencies had informed the authorities that two suicide bombers had reached the capital to hit their targets. However, the government had taken stringent security measures to counter such attempts, and strong multi-tier security cordons had been placed around the venues of the PTI and PAT.

While addressing a press conference in the Punjab House, he said, “Our forces are deployed in different tiers to secure the Red Zone.”

The interior minister, however, said that both the PTI and PAT were extending cooperation with the district administration of Islamabad and following the terms and conditions put forward by the local administration, adding that the PTI and PAT had agreed that they would not cross the limits marked as the Red Zone.

The government provided the venues of their choice, the minister said, and added that the administration was facilitating the participants of the rallies as Pakistani citizens.

The interior minister said that the security of Islamabad’s Red Zone had been multiplied and strengthened manifold as it was the government’s obligation to provide foolproof protection to foreign missions. “Over 30,000 well-equipped personnel of the law enforcement agencies, including the Rangers, Frontier/Punjab constabularies and other civil military forces, are ready along with the police to counter any attempt to cross the Red Line,” the interior minister warned.

“We are responsible for security, especially of the Red Zone housing embassies, and we have international obligations to provide protection to them at every cost,” the interior minister said adding that the government had to protect the embassy buildings and diplomats as a major compulsion.

“Other than the Diplomatic Enclave, there are many sensitive buildings, including the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Parliament House, President House, PM House and Foreign Office, in the Red Zone to protect,” Ch Nisar said.

The minister said that coordination of security management between the protesting parties and the civil administration was a must to ensure foolproof security. “PAT is extending cooperation with the civil administration regarding security issues but a message of lack of mutual aid of security matters was recorded from the PTI,” the minister maintained.

“We have to think about the other issues of the country, including the military operation against terrorists and IDPs facing problems in camps, but the entire media is concentrating on the PTI and PAT rallies,” Nisar said.

“The Red Zone is prohibited for political activities and it is sealed for them but some roads will be opened for the people working in the Red Zone, the minister, responding to a question, said.

He said that entry and exit between Rawalpindi and Islamabad would be opened gradually with the normalisation of the situation, adding, however, that some important roads would be opened from Sunday.

Responding to another question, the minister said that the federal capital was taking care of the food and residential requirements of the heavy contingents of borrowed forces. He said that the government would separately pay allowances and extra salaries to the forces that came from other areas. (Courtesy: The News)