ISLAMABAD - Military troops stepped in Islamabad on Friday to aid civil administration to make foolproof security arrangement.

The federal government has called army under article 245 of the constitution.

"Security forces have been given powers under Article 245. The decision to call in army was taken by the federal government last month to back up civil administration to tighten security further. Hence, security forces have finally taken position to look after the matters relating to Islamabad's security and law and order for the next three months," journalists were told on Friday.

On Friday, the troops were seen taking positions in Islamabad's Red Zone, which is home to sensitive buildings including Parliament House, Supreme Court, Diplomatic Enclave and Prime Minister Office. The security forces also kicked of patrolling across the federal capital in addition to Rangers. 

The article 245 states: (1) The armed forces shall, under the directions of the federal government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.

(2) The validity of any direction issued by the federal government under Clause (1) shall not be called into question in any court.

(3) A high court shall not exercise any jurisdiction under Article 199 in relation to any area in which the armed forces of Pakistan are, for the time being, acting in aid of civil power in pursuance of Article 245: provided that this clause shall not be deemed to affect the jurisdiction of the high court in respect of any proceeding pending immediately before the day on which the armed forces start acting in aid of civil power.

(4) Any proceedings in relation to an area referred to in Clause (3) instituted on or after the day the armed forces start acting in aid of civil power and pending in any high court shall remain suspended for the period during which the armed forces are so acting.

Meanwhile residents of Islamabad have hailed the government's decision of giving control of the capital's security to the armed forces. "It seems to be a wise decision. Threats from militants have raised manifolds following military operation Zar-e-Azb in North Waziristan. Only a best trained force can deal with the threat of retaliation by terrorists," Haji Sultan Azam, a businessman of Islamabad, said.

Many in Islamabad believe that possibility of retaliation by militants is potentially very high in the federal capital following military operation in North Waziristan.

Imposition of article 245 has come under sharp criticism from Imran Khan's political party. Imran Khan himself has criticized Sharif's government for dragging the armed forces to secure his political position.

The government has planned to hold Independence Day celebrations at D-Chowk, Islamabad, and Capital Territory Police have finalised plan to tackle the participants of Imran Khan's Azadi March. Sources said Islamabad and Rawalpindi police have worked out a plan to completely seal the federal capital on the occasion of long march. Heavy containers would be placed at entrance and exit points, besides heavy contingents of police. 

According to plan, 8,000 policemen would be deployed across the federal capital two days ahead of the long march, while armed forces and Rangers have been given the responsibility of securing D-Chowk and its surrounding areas. The teams of quick response force along with Rangers and Elite Force of Punjab would be patrolling across the federal capital to stop the marchers.

The SSP Islamabad denied having knowledge of any security plan. However, he confirmed that Islamabad police will use all available resources to ensure foolproof security on 14th August.

"We are planning to deploy maximum police force to provide foolproof security to Islamabad on the Independence Day," SSP Islamabad Muhammad Ali Nekokara told The Nation. He did not rule out the possibility of taking help from Rawalpindi police for elaborated security measures.

According to officials from federal interior ministry, heads of Rangers, ICT police and Quick Response Force have been alerted to devise strategy to keep participants of the long march away from Islamabad.

According to these sources, major role will be played by Punjab police from where majority of marchers is expected to travel to Islamabad. In a bid to sabotage the long march, Inspector General of Punjab police was alerted by the federal and provincial governments to use all available machinery and resources to fail the long march.

Sharif's PML-N, which is also a ruling party in populous province of Punjab, has so for planned to counter Imran Khan's long march at any cost. Following directions from Punjab Home department, inspector general of Punjab police has alerted the district police officers to deal with the marchers with an iron hand.

"It is a test case really. Adopt scientific approach to counter the marchers on 14th of August. Intercept the marchers at the level of district and sub-districts and make sure only a handful of them may leave your jurisdiction," a source quoted IGP Punjab as saying.

A district police officer from South Punjab confirmed receiving of such orders from the top officer of Punjab police and said he was complying with the orders.

"It is true. I received such orders and doing the needful," the district police officer told The Nation on condition of anonymity.

Higher officials of Rawalpindi police believe it could be difficult task to deal with marchers coming from KP. However, they said, preparations are being made to stop the participants of the long march first at Hassan Abdal and then in Taxila.