ISLAMABAD - Political and military leadership on Tuesday reviewed the security situation in the backdrop of Imran and Dr Tahirul Qadri’s threats to cross into the ‘Red Zone’ and it was unanimously decided that the issue would be tackled politically while the security of the Red Zone would totally be handed over to Pakistan Army.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif held detailed meeting with Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on the apparently volatile security situation in the federal capital and its possible fallouts, especially in case both the parties would enter the Red Zone as announced.
Sources in ruling PML-N informed that Prime Minister Sharif briefed General Raheel Sharif about the efforts his government was making to defuse the situation through dialogue and the stiff stand both Allama Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan had taken against negotiations.
Sources further said that the decision to give complete security control of Red Zone to army was also taken in the meeting with both Sharifs on same page on zero tolerance against the security breach of Diplomatic Enclave by anyone.
Sources said army chief also backed government’s decision to go soft on the protesters and use of force would be taken as the last resort to handle them.
Sources further said that security of sensitive buildings including Parliament House, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Prime Minister’s office and residential area for Parliamentarians was taken over by the armed forces while the other law enforcement agencies were also placed at the disposal of army to tackle with any eventuality.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the series of meetings held in Prime Minister’s House informed The Nation that initially the core committee of the government comprising key federal ministers discussed the situation originating from the PTI and PAT sit-ins and their threats to barge into Red Zone. It was decided that efforts to engage both these parties in dialogue would continue despite the fact that the leadership of both PTI and PAT had refused to meet committees comprising government and opposition parties members.
Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan briefed the prime minister about the steps taken for the security of the sensitive buildings in Red Zone. He further briefed the meeting about the special steps taken for the security of Diplomatic Enclave in Red Zone.
Nisar informed during the meeting that around 40,000 security personnel were deployed in Red Zone, besides a comprehensive security plan was also finalised.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed The Nation that prime minister directed the interior minister to provide foolproof security to the foreign diplomats stationed in Islamabad and show zero tolerance in case of any attempt to breach the security of Diplomatic Enclave.
It was further decided in the meeting that in case of any attempt from PTI or PAT to break into Red Zone would be dealt with patiently and clear-cut instructions not to fire at the protesters. It was also decided that law enforcement agencies would go soft while handling the marchers even if they attempt to cross into Red Zone.