Nisar Ali Khan
Pakistan on Monday ensured heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in Islamabad as of the nation’s capital is all set to host high-profile multi-nation regional economic summit on Wednesday. The city was put on high alert.
Officials from Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan have already arrived here to take part in the preparatory meetings of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organisation.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan chaired a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss security and recommend measures as part of the foolproof security arrangements.
Khan told the officials that it was "question of image of Pakistan" and every necessary step will be taken to ensure the security of the foreign guests.
"The government has announced local holiday in the capital and neighbouring Rawalpindi on March 1 while the office and educational institutions will close at mid-day on February 28," according to an official announcement.
A major highway leading to venue of the summit will also be closed. Extra police and paramilitary troops will patrol the capital and man the major points. Extra checking points have also been established.
A senior official of the interior ministry said that already special measures had been taken to protect the capital from any attack after a wave of suicide bombings this month but the security was further enhanced due to the ECO summit.
"Now the security is in high alert mode in the capital," he said. More than 125 people were killed and hundreds others injured in a string of bombings and suicide attacks recently. The deteriorating security situation forced Pakistan government to launch nationwide Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad to eliminate terrorism.