Pakistan ordered troops to be deployed at sensitive areas in the capital as the threat by the opposition to go for a mass sit-in outside the Parliament neared,but the army said the deployment would take place “only if the situation warrants.”
The army said it had received a request from the government to deploy troops at sensitive locations to maintain law and order during the protest by lawyers and opposition parties.
The troops will remain on alert and will “move only if the situation warrants it”,chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told Dawn News channel.
He refused to identify the sensitive locations.
The lawyers’ movement and opposition parties,including former premier Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N,launched a “long march” on March 12 to pressure the ruling Pakistan People’s Party to reinstate judges deposed by former President Pervez Musharraf.
The organisers of the protest have said it will end with a sit-in near parliament but the government has said it will not let the demonstrators enter Islamabad.
The army’s Rawalpindi-based 111 Brigade,which has usually played a crucial role in past military coups,held a meeting on Thursday to review the law and order situation in the capital and nearby areas.
Lawyers and opposition have said the authorities have detained over 1,200 people to thwart the protest. Prohibitory orders banning protests and rallies have been imposed in Sindh,Punjab and North West Frontier Province but the protestors have said they are determined to march to the capital.
The authorities have sealed all highways leading to the capital and have forced halt to three big opposition motorcades converging towards Islamabad.