Islamabad-Islamabad police have started flexing muscles in the wake of Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan’s warning of paralysing Islamabad on November 2, The Nation has learnt.

Sources in the Islamabad police told this correspondent yesterday that around 400 Islamabad police personnel have started practicing crowd and riot control here at the Police Lines ahead of the protest date. The activity is designed to put police response to the test to ensure that everybody knows what to do in a crisis-like situation, the sources added. They said around 10,000 personnel of the ICT police are likely to be spared for deployment in different parts of the city if situation arises in the coming days.

A police officer speaking on condition of anonymity said that Punjab police, Punjab Constabulary, Frontier Constabulary, Azad Kashmir police and Railways police are likely to be requisitioned for the protection of the capital in case both the government and the opposition party stick to their stance and no way-out is hammered out till November 2. “Rangers would protect the Red Zone… the rest of the city would be given under the control of other law-enforcement agencies,” he said.

He told The Nation that Islamabad police high-ups have so far got no instructions from the interior ministry viz-a-viz PTI’s protest; however, he was of the view that formal letters would soon be written to the concerned quarters for requisition of law-enforcers from other provinces. He said that a contingent of Rapid Response Force comprising 264 personnel is nowadays preparing for passing out at the Police Lines which has nothing to do with the PTI protest. They would not be deployed for riots control as they are an anti-terrorism force, he added. Islamabad police had, back in 2014, acted in the role of riot police when Imran and Tahir-ul-Qadri-led protestors had entered the capital to protest the alleged rigging in the general elections and killing of PAT workers in Lahore respectively. Red Zone had seen violent scenes when PTI workers tried to march towards the PM House and the law-enforcers resorted to tear gas shelling and firing rubber bullets.

Meanwhile, Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) of Islamabad police has nabbed two auto-thieves and recovered three stolen vehicles from their possession, said a police spokesman yesterday. He said that the car-lifters have been identified as Rizwan son of Shaukat, resident of Dhok Choudhrian, Misrial Road, Rawalpindi; and Abdul Majid, son of Arshad Mahmood, resident of tehsil Hazro, district Attock.

Both the car-lifters confessed to have stolen over 150 vehicles from Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Jhelum, Chakwal and across Punjab. During investigation, the police team also recovered three stolen vehicles from them bearing registration numbers AFD-529, ZW-663 and LZU- 6695. Further investigation is under way.