Protests in Islamabad: Over Rs1 billion spent on security in last five years
Over Rs 1 billion was spent on the security arrangements of the staggering number of protests in Islamabad in the last five years, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.
The details about the money spent on security during various sit-ins and rallies in the last five years were submitted by the Interior Ministry before the Upper House.
The report revealed that the highest amount – a sum of Rs755.9 million – was spent on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) protest in Islamabad in 2014.
Here is the breakdown of the expenditure on major protests:
Rs 755.9 million on 2014 PTI rally
The 2014 PTI sit-in, which started on August 14, 2014, with a march from Lahore to Islamabad to oppose the results of 2013 general elections, lasted for 126 days. The protesters and PTI leadership demanded the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resign. The leadership and supporters of PTI camped in Aabpara, close to the city’s Red Zone.
Both the PTI and PAT marched protested for months, however, following the deadly attack on Army Public School, Peshawar in December 2014, the protest was eventually called off by the PTI leader Imran Khan.
Rs 210 million on PTI’s 2016 lockdown
A whopping amount of Rs210 million was spent on the security for the PTI’s 2016 ‘lockdown’ of the capital. Islamabad city’s major roads were blocked with huge containers on the road.
PTI Chairperson Imran Khan had announced to close down Islamabad on November 2, 2016, if the Supreme Court did not start a probe against the Sharif family after their names were revealed in the Panama Papers.
PTI’s Nov 2 ‘lockdown’ changed to ‘thanksgiving’ rally in Islamabad after Supreme Court’s announcement of forming a judicial commission to probe the allegations against the Sharifs.
Rs 133.8 million on 2017 Faizabad sit-in
In 2017, an Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik held a sit-in at Faizabad Interchange, which connects Islamabad and Rawalpindi, against the controversial amendment to the Finality of Prophethood clause in the declaration for elected candidates.
The major demand of the group was the resignation of the then federal law minister Zahid Hamid. However, the sit-in was called off as the authorities in Islamabad reached an agreement with the protestors.
The weeks-long protest led to chaotic scenes and failed police crackdown. The government spent Rs133.8 million to avoid any untoward incident during the sit-in.
Rs 33.2 million on 2013 PAT sit-in
On January 14, 2013, by PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and his supporters marched from Lahore to Islamabad and camped out at Jinnah Avenue for over four days. The protest was against corrupt politicians and sought electoral reforms for the coming general elections.
Around Rs33.2 million were spent on the 2013 demonstration in Islamabad.