Heavy security deployment in Islamabad for Afghan conference

ISLAMABAD: A three-tier security arrangement headed by police and backed up by para-military and the army was put in place by Pakistan for a regional conference on Afghanistan with security forces keeping a strict vigil as top leaders were here to attend the high-profile meeting.

The two-day ‘Heart of Asia’ conference started yesterday but the key ministerial meeting attended by Foreign Ministers of several countries, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and senior officials was today jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

An Interior Ministry official said a three-tier security was in place for the safety of the leaders of 14 members and 17 supporting countries as well as officials of 12 international organisations.

“Police is on the front and is backed by para-military Rangers and Army,” he said.

The intelligence officials — both military and civilian –combed the entire area around the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the plush Serena hotel where most of the delegates were staying.

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Entry to the area of the conference is restricted and only people having special permits and media were allowed to go there.

Traffic police also made special arrangements to control the vehicular movement in the city.

An intelligence official said that religious schools in the capital and neighbouring Rawalpindi were also being monitored.

Security officials in plain clothes were also deployed at key places to keep a vigil on everything.

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