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Pakistan: Security beefed up ahead of PTI’s protest outside ECP

“Now, they are cowering in fear about the same happening to the entire Pakistan Democratic Movement in general elections,” he said.

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Islamabad: Security has been beefed up and shipping containers placed as barricades in the federal capital on Thursday ahead of the PTI’s planned to protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s office, Dawn reported.

The PTI, which is demanding Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja’s resignation, is scheduled to stage a protest outside the electoral watchdog’s office on Thursday. The PTI’s protest was called in anticipation of the prohibited funding verdict.

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However, the federal government has declared that it won’t allow protesters to enter the Red Zone.

On the other hand, Imran Khan has said only a parliamentary delegation of the PTI would go to the ECP office and convey that the party had lost confidence in the electoral body.

But authorities were taking no chances, as containers were reportedly set up blocking entry into the high-security Red Zone area, and citizens were directed to use Margalla Road in order to enter the city.

In a statement, Islamabad SSP (Operations) said that no one would be allowed to enter Red Zone. He said that 2,000 officials from Islamabad police, Frontier Corps, and Rangers had been deployed.

Ahead of the protest, PTI chief Imran Khan said the CEC and the ECP, in connivance with the government, “conspired to try a technical knockout against the PTI after the PML-N got routed in the Punjab by-elections”.

“Now, they are cowering in fear about the same happening to the entire Pakistan Democratic Movement in general elections,” he said.

“Today, I am calling all our people to come out in [a] peaceful public protest against the CEC and ECP in F-9 park at 6 pm. I will be addressing the gathering between 7-7:30 pm,” he added.

Imran’s statement comes after Islamabad authorities denied the PTI’s request to stage a protest against the ECP at the nearby Nadra Chowk and suggested F-9 park and H-9 ground as alternate venues.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed on Wednesday that the government had received information that the PTI was planning to create an “anarchic situation” outside the ECP, warning of stern action in case of any violence or attempt to cross the “red line”.

Sanaullah also said that the demonstrators were free to protest at the nearby F-9 park or Parade Ground, where he assured them they would be fully facilitated.

Similarly, Islamabad District Magistrate (DM) Irfan Nawaz Memon, issued a reply to the party’s application for staging a protest at Nadra Chowk and seeking provision of security.

The letter, dated August 3, stated that Section 144 had been imposed on all kinds of public gatherings in the federal capital including in and around Red Zone on July 23.

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