PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry has said the “final stage has arrived” in anticipation of the day former prime minister Imran Khan will call supporters to converge on Rawalpindi.

“The final stage has arrived. Be prepared. Imran Khan will give a call today to reach Rawalpindi,” tweeted Fawad.

He said PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar, who are leading separate convoys, will meet at Rawat today from where the marchers would move towards Rawalpindi, located at a distance of 23.8 kilometres when approached via Grant Trunk Road.

Meanwhile, PTI’s Islamabad and Rawalpindi chapters completed all arrangements to welcome marchers of the long march in Rawat on Saturday.

In a meeting held with PTI Islamabad Chapter President Ali Awan in the chair, it was decided that all party workers and supporters will welcome the marchers at Rawat.

A large number of workers, women and senior citizens will reach Rawat in the form of rallies from all the union councils of Islamabad region on Saturday and will give a warm welcome to both caravans of the march coming from Wazirabad.

The convoy, led by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Secretary General Asad Umar from Faisalabad region will reach Rawat.

SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS: A command and control centre has been set up in Rawalpindi for security of the PTI long march and to maintain communication with appropriate institutions. More than 100 snipers have been deployed on the rooftops of buildings.

Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) headquarters (HQ) will be present at the centre round-the-clock to monitor everything. As part of tightened security, more than 2,500 police personnel have been assigned duty in the inner circle around the container carrying the PTI chairman and other leaders.

A police spokesman said on Friday that an officer has been appointed to monitor video footage obtained from CCTV cameras and drone cameras in the control centre. And in-charge of the centre will be in touch with all law enforcement agencies and the bomb disposal squad’s focal persons.

All information from the centre will be conveyed to the regional police officer (RPO), city police officer (CPO) and senior superintendent of police (SSP). Police personnel deployed in government hospitals will remain on high alert and facility centres will remain functional in hospitals to deal with any emergency situation, said the spokesman, adding that it will be mandatory for all officials on duty to carry departmental cards and identity cards. Filming videos will be made mandatory at the police station and headquarters level and officials dressed in white clothes will also be required to carry out surveillance.

Rawalpindi police has also been instructed to remain on high alert in view of the threat of terrorism and sabotage in the context of the situation.

During the long march, elite commandos and snipers will be stationed on the container of Imran Khan and other leaders and three security fences will be maintained continuously. No person will be allowed to enter the main container without security clearance, said the spokesman.

On the other hand, City Police Officer (CPO) Syed Shahzad Nadeem Bukhari visited Gujar Khan accompanied by Deputy Commissioner retired Captain Shoaib Ali, SSP Operations Waseem Riaz Khan, SP (Saddar) Mohammad Nabil Khokhar and SP Security Faisal Saleem.

The CPO reviewed security arrangements and issued instructions to the officers concerned.

‘BUG-INFESTED FOOD’: Punjab Constabulary personnel who have been sent to Rawalpindi from other parts of the province to provide security to the participants of the PTI long march are unhappy over boarding and lodging facilities and poor quality of food.

In a video clip which went viral on social media on Thursday, the personnel could be heard raising slogans against the authorities during the distribution of meals at an undisclosed location.

In the videos, they could be heard chanting: “Daal daal, subah shaam daal, pathar wali daal, keeray wali daal” (Pulses in the morning, pulses in the evening. Pulses with stones. Pulses with bugs).

Over 500 personnel of the Punjab Constabulary have been lodged at various places, including marriage halls, police stations and other buildings, in the city ahead of the long march which was expected to enter Rawalpindi on Saturday (today).

An unidentified police official, through a voice message on social media, complained that their lodgings lack basic facilities and poor quality food was being provided by the Rawalpindi police.

He claimed many personnel had already fallen sick causing resentment among them.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the Superintendent (SP) Headquarters, who was tasked with arranging boarding and lodging, has decided to revise the food menu and a summary has been sent to the police high-ups for approval.

MOVEMENT RESTRICTED: The free movement in Rawalpindi and Islamabad will virtually be suspended as PTI is likely to stage a sit-in protest at Shamsabad, a few hundred metres from the border of the federal capital territory, against the attempted murder of party leader Imran Khan after the long march arrives here.

Freedom of movement for residents is expected to be restricted due to the blockade of the main Murree Road and its arteries as the PTI’s long march has planned a massive gathering of its supporters from all over the country, especially from Punjab, KP and AJK, apparently to force their entry into the federal capital.

The district administration and police are expected to play the same role which they did during last week’s sit-ins in various parts of the province and blockade of motorways, GT Road, Murree Road, Peshawar Road, old Airport Road and many other entries.

Even educational institutions were closed for three days in Rawalpindi due to the blockade of roads as parents were not willing to send their children to schools and colleges.

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