LAHORE - A high-level body, constituted at Civil Secretariat to monitor the volatile situation, was given a free hand to take any step to deal with PTI plans to lock down the capital except arresting Imran Khan and firing at the mobs.

Official sources said both political and bureaucratic bigwigs met in the home department’s control room especially monitoring the rickety situation emerging after the PTI chief announced to block Islamabad.

The committee comprises Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, former IGP and currently adviser to Punjab CM Rana Maqbool, Home Secretary Maj (r) Azam Suleman, IGP Mushtaq Sukhera, the heads of Counter-Terrorism Department, Special Branch, IB and other law-enforcing agencies.

Both executive and other officials have been deputed with the committee as supporting members.

Official sources further said the top security apparatus conducted marathon meetings on the fresh situation after the crackdown in Islamabad. “All burden to control the PTI mobs and other people leaving for Islamabad to foil the sit-in and capital lockdown lies on the shoulders of the Punjab police,” said a senior police officer requesting his name not to be mentioned. He said despite the fact that over 20,000 police personnel had already been deputed and sent to Islamabad to support the capital police, adding fresh policemen might be sent to the capital on the orders of the high-powered committee. The government thinks if PAT participates in the PTI-led movement, the workload on the Punjab police would increase manyfold. “Contrary to the PAT’s diehard workers, it is very easy to control the PTI workers” he said. The Punjab government has so far worked out may plans to counter the PTI strategies.

“The provincial home department, on the directions of the interior ministry, is finalising the plans after a thorough study of the intelligence reports on PTI and PAT plans,” said the sources privy to the updates.

Moreover, officials affirmed Islamabad was depending on the Punjab government and its police force to control the critical situation in the days to come. “The entry of the KP people, led by CM Pervaiz Khattak, is a major challenge to the Punjab police,” said the sources.

When asked whether the Punjab police would arrest the KP CM and his cabinet members on their entry into the capital, an officer said both the leaders and the crowd would be given a tough time. However, it would be done on the directions of the Punjab and federal governments, he held.

The officer said the police have already been given a free hand to get as many containers as they wanted to stop the PTI supporters going to participate in the Islamabad rallies.

To another question whether the Punjab government would stop the PTI workers from the Sindh province leaving for Islamabad, the officer answered in positive. He said no PTI worker would be given a free hand to move freely. Moreover, he said, there was a plan to counter the PTI plans to protest in Lahore if the government succeeded in stopping them from entering Islamabad. He said foolproof security of the government offices, especially the CM offices, residents of the PM and the CM at Raiwind would be ensured.