ISLAMABAD: A search and combing operation has begun in the twin cities, in preparation for Pakistan Day on March 23.
Based on instructions from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), internet service providers (ISP) have informed their customers that internet services will be shut down from 5am to 3pm on Monday.
Police have been searching hotels, guest houses, slums and other areas for security purposes.
In March 2015, federal police issued a statement claiming a terrorist attack targeting the Pakistan Day Parade had been foiled. The parade was going to be held after a seven-year hiatus, and there were speculations that the Chinese president would also be in attendance.
According to the statement two individuals were arrested and a cache of weapons was recovered. Police sought a two-day remand from the court to thoroughly interrogate the suspects, who confessed to planning an attack on the parade during the initial investigation.
The police also alleged that the lead suspect was the son of an influential figure, who owned seven housing societies in Islamabad. However, the day after the police statement was issued the interior minister stated that the arrest and recovery of weapons was unrelated to the parade.
A police official said that search operations conducted at a number of hotels and guest houses had resulted in the arrest of seven individuals who could not prove they were Pakistani nationals.
“A combing operation is being carried out in various parts of the city. Police have been checking vehicles at the city’s entry points and verifying documents. All suspicious vehicles are being searched,” he said.
Islamabad police have asked citizens to remain vigilant and reach out to the police on the following telephone numbers: 1135, 15 and 1915.
He said that if the parade is cancelled due to the rain, it will be announced through television channels and radio.
The Faizabad junction will be closed to traffic for Islamabad as part of the security plan for Pakistan Day, and traffic will be diverted to Stadium Road. Entry of heavy vehicles into Rawalpindi will also be banned.
City Traffic Police on Sunday issued a traffic diversion plan for public convenience, and to ensure smoothly flowing traffic during the Pakistan Day parade. Motorists have been asked to follow the designated diversion routes to prevent chaos.
Rawalpindi Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Shoaib Khurram Janbaz said that due to the closure of the Faizabad junction, traffic to Islamabad from Benazir Bhutto Road will be diverted to Stadium Road and then on to 9th Avenue.
He said traffic from Islamabad Expressway will be diverted to the Khanna Bridge, and the Service Road will be diverted to Stadium Road via Shamsabad and then towards 9th Avenue.
The CTO said the highway department has also been asked to stop heavy vehicles coming from Peshawar at Tarnol, Attock Bridge, Huro Bridge, Taxila and Margalla. Heavy traffic from Lahore will be stopped at Gujrat, Jhelum, Mandra, Rawat and T Chowk. Heavy vehicles from Murree will be stopped at Lower Topa, Gul Danna Moor and the 17 mile toll plaza.
He said vehicles coming to Rawalpindi from 9th Avenue, Islamabad, will be diverted to I.J. Principal Road and would take the New Katarian, Pindora Road to enter Rawalpindi city.