The capital administration has offered Parade Ground near Faizabad as the venue for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s October 4 rally.
Talking to Dawn, senior police and administration officers on condition of anonymity said the government had categorically refused to allow the PTI to hold its rally at D-Chowk in the Red Zone.
The capital administration and the PTI leaders have held meetings and the last one was held on Wednesday. “We told them to choose any other venue outside the Red Zone,” said a district administration officer. He said the PTI had yet to come up with a reply about the Parade Ground. The officer said the capital administration had directions from the authorities concerned to refuse the request of PTI of holding the rally at D-Chowk. The officer said there were three to four other options for the venue, including Zero Point, Kashmir Highway adjacent to Aabpara or Constitution Avenue and F-9 Park. The officer said the capital administration had twice informed Younus Ali Raza, the chief coordinator of the PTI’s procession, that due to the prevailing security conditions, public gatherings and rallies had been banned in the capital. Besides, no political gathering is allowed in the Red Zone. But so far the PTI has neither requested for any other venue outside the Red Zone nor accepted the offer of the capital administration, he added.
Similarly, Jinnah Avenue will also not be given to the PTI for holding the gathering. “It is feared that the participants of the procession may damage the multi-billion metro bus project at Jinnah Avenue.” “We are expecting that in the next meeting with the capital administration, the PTI will choose a venue outside the Red Zone,” he added. Last year, the PTI and PAT were allowed to hold their sit-ins on Kashmir Highway near Aabpara. But later the two parties moved to the Red Zone after removing the barricades and staged their sit-ins at D-Chowk. The officer said the local administration did not want a repeat of last year’s incident. But both the police and administration officers also said it was yet to be decided how to intercept PTI workers and leaders if they tried to enter the Red Zone. “Obviously, the Red Zone will be sealed by placing containers on the roads leading towards the area and with the deployment of law enforcement agencies.”