Security on high alert in Islamabad as NA elects new Leader of the House today

Zubair Qureshi

More than 2,500 police and paramilitary troops have been deployed in the Red Zone and security has been beefed up as the National Assembly of Pakistan is going to elect its new leader of the House today (Monday).

Shahbaz Sharif, the majority members’ consensus candidate is expected to be elected Prime Minister of the country as a day earlier, 174 members exercised their right of vote against the deposed Prime Minister Imran Khan. In order to become leader of the house and Prime Minister of the country, one needs to have a minimum 172 votes in the National Assembly.

On Saturday too, security was beefed when the No-Confidence Motion was presented in the National Assembly of Pakistan.

On Monday, according to the police, all the entry points to the zone, except for the Margalla Road, will remain sealed till the conclusion of the ongoing session.

A large number of the workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and other allied parties of the joint opposition are expected to arrive at the D-Chowk to celebrate their victory against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) whose workers are also set to hold protest.

Police officers told on condition of anonymity that the ‘extra precautionary measures’ have been taken keeping in view reports of clashes between the activists and workers of different political parties who would reach Red Zone from different parts of the country that might create law and order situation.

Under such a situation, there was a need to secure the sensitive installations in the Red Zone, including Parliament House, Parliament Lodges, MNA Hostel, Supreme Court building, PM Secretariat, Presidency, PM House, Sindh House, Diplomatic Enclave, Judges Enclave and two hotels, the officers said.

The motive behind the deployment was to counter any terrorism, maintain law and order, ensure security of the MNAs and conduct smoothly the election of new Leader of the House.

A contingent, comprising 641 policemen, 75 Frontier Constabulary and 465 Rangers personnel were deployed in and around Parliament House, adding a contingent comprising 103 policemen, 50 FC and 25 Rangers personnel was also deployed at Sindh House.

Likewise, a contingent of 338 personnel, including 52 FC and 127 Rangers personnel, was deployed at Parliament Lodges. Moreover, 28 police officials along with 20 FC and 20 Rangers personnel were deployed at the MNA Hostel.

A dozen entry points to Constitution Avenue have been sealed by placing 130 containers.

Deployment of 141 personnel of police, FC and Rangers was made at Serena picket, the offices said, adding 101 policemen and 10 Rangers were deployed at Marriott Chowk followed by 289 policemen and 60 Rangers at Express Chowk.

A contingent of 42 policemen and 10 Rangers were deployed at Bari Imam T-Cross and Nadra picket.Likewise, four policemen and five Rangers were deployed at Third Road near the China embassy, Federal Public Service Commission, Globe Chowk, Election Commissioner of Pakistan, Kohsar Complex and High Court building north side. A contingent of 166 policemen, 30 FC and 60 Rangers personnel were also deployed at Margalla Road.Directives were also issued that all officials, especially gunmen of officers, will not carry arms. However, senior officers will carry their official weapons.


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