ISLAMABAD    -    Islamabad police have accelerated preparations to maintain law and order in view of the anti-government march announced by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) on October 31 in Islamabad, according to officials.

The police department has cancelled the leaves of all its officials in Islamabad in view of the possible sit-in announced by the party in the federal capital.

The leaves have been cancelled to ensure the availability of enough personnel for security and traffic arrangements during the Azadi March.

According to a notification, no police officer/official of Islamabad Capital Territory Police shall be granted any kind of leave till further orders except in case of extreme emergency.

The police force has accelerated preparations for upcoming protest and sit-in of JUI-F in Islamabad.

The personnel of the Anti-Riot Unit (ARU) of the Islamabad police have started training sessions at the Police Line headquarters. Special sessions are being organised on a daily basis to train police officers for handling crowd and to address any untoward situation.

Police officers have instructed the personnel to ensure their own safety during the mass gatherings and sit-ins besides barring those trying to disturb law and order situation, according to the officials.

The ARU has the strength of 450 officials while the Anti-Terrorist Squad has 71 personnel, said the officials. Around 1,000 officials of the police are participating in the exercise being held in the police headquarters.

On the other hand, the government has also decided to requisition police from Punjab and Azad Kashmir to cope with the long march and sit-in. Islamabad police department has summoned additional contingents comprising 20,000 officials from other provinces to boost security of the federal capital.

Meanwhile, seminaries and leaders of JUI-F in the capital have been put under surveillance so that participation of the students and leaders in the upcoming protest of the politico-religious party could be limited. On the directives of the capital administration, the police have alerted its Special Branch to collect information about the affiliation of the religious seminaries, teachers and students with the JUI-F.

Besides, seminaries, teachers and students who may support the JUI-F should also be identified. Intelligence has been mounted with additional deployment of intelligence operatives in and around the seminaries to collect details, according to the officials.

Officials deployed around seminaries have been keeping a close eye on the people visiting the premises.

The teachers and senior students are also under surveillance to check whom they are meeting and contacting these days.

There are over 300 religious seminaries in the federal capital and it is expected that the JUI-F may get support from as many as 200 of the seminaries. There are around 25,000 students getting education in these seminaries.

Rent-a-car service providers, hotels and catering services are also being monitored along with clients visiting them, the officials said.

According to the officials, the long march would not be allowed to enter Red Zone and the high security area would be sealed.

Faizabad is another area the law enforcing agencies are sensitive about that the participants of the long march do not gather over there.

In the meantime, the police have begun taking riot gear out of armoury stores as they brace for a showdown with the marchers.

Riot kits kept in police storage are being cleaned besides the officials have been asked to fix any equipment that is damaged.

The police last engaged in any anti-riot activity was in 2017 when it dealt with the weeks-long sit in by the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan at Faizabad interchange.