SYED DANISH HUSSAIN, ISRAR AHMED, IMRAN MUKHTAR

ISLAMABAD - In Pakistan where dangerous religious frenzy continues to dominate the society, the phenomenon of New Year’s celebrations has become limited to the Christian community and the privileged strata of the society.

Gone are the days when the people belonging to the middle and lower middle classes used to converge to the roads of the federal capital on the eve of New Year to welcome a new beginning, but now the overall law and order situation has also snatched that tradition from the ordinary residents of twin cities.

Apart from aforementioned stark reality, dozens of private parties were organised all across the city to celebrate the festivity and welcome the year 2013. TheNation carried out a survey that showed that some planned quiet evening, while others have dancing and celebrating all night in mind.

Nelum Bakhtiar of Kash Events organised an Arabian Night-themed party at a farmhouse located at Orchard Scheme. “House is full. I have sold all 230 tickets. Great fun is waiting for all those who are supposed to be part of my party,” Bakhtiar said.

Waqar Ahmad, 25, and Zubair, 24, students of a private university, said they would attend a party at F-7, where one of their friends will deejay.

Meanwhile in Rawalpindi, the law enforcers badly failed to control scores of youngsters on Monday night who poured on roads in vehicles and motorcycles for celebration on New Year night in several areas of the city.

According to police spokesman, a total of 1,000 police personnel were deputed in the city to control the law and order situation on the eve of New Year. One wheeling, playing of music on sound systems and aerial firing was banned during a high level meeting held at Commissioner Office two days ago with District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Capt (retd) Muhammad Zubair, City Police Officer (CPO) Azhar Hameed Khokher, DPOs and DCOs of other three districts with attendance.

However, all the tall claims of City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) as well as police of making comprehensive security arrangements and traffic management plan were proved as hollow by hundreds of jubilant youths who shown stunts with their cars and motorbikes in different localities of the city soon after clock ticked 12:00am. In many areas, fireworks and gunshots were also fired into the air.

The areas, where insane youth did one wheeling and stunts with four wheelers, included Saddar, Bank Road, Jhelum Road, Benazir Bhutto Road, Committee Chowk and Faizabad Bridge. They were also playing Indian and western music on the music systems installed in their cars.

Reportedly, celebrations also took place in the three, four and five star hotels as well in local hotels in the city with no official check and balance on the part of police.

Meanwhile, the local administration here on Monday, as a pre-emptive measure to avoid any untoward situation on the occasion of New Year night, imposed ban on one wheeling and carrying of arms openly by enforcing Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the precincts of capital territory.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Amer Ali Ahmed while talking to TheNation informed that ban on one-wheeling and carrying of arms in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) had come into force from Monday (December 31). He further said that all the permits issued by the authorities concerned for carrying of arms would stand cancelled on the occasion of New Year.

The deputy commissioner said that all measures were being taken to avoid any bad law and order situation on the occasion of New Year night. He also said that Interior Ministry had already issued a security alert to beef up the security of the capital in view of the prevailing bad law and order situation.

“All field officers including assistant commissioner, magistrates, sub-divisional police officers and station officers (SHOs) would remain on road on the eve of new year night and hulla bulla on all public places would be discouraged,” Deputy Commissioner said. He said that security of citizens would be of paramount importance for the local administration and the police.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Islamabad Police on Monday issued directions to deploy police contingents at important places, shopping centers, and main markets for the safety of public on the occasion of New Year Night.

According to a press note issued by the office of IGP Islamabad, on the special instructions of IG Police Bani Amin Khan, SSP Islamabad Yaseen Farooq and SSP (Traffic) Islamabad Dr Moeen Masood issued security and traffic plan deputing police contingents at all important places, shopping centers, main markets for the safety of the public during the night.

Police Commandos have been deployed at different places apart from patrolling by ASPs, DSPs, Inspectors and provision of more strength to police stations. All the Police Stations have been directed to ensure foolproof security arrangements in their respective areas while over 500 cops will perform duties in various areas.

SSP (Traffic) Dr Moeen Masood has also constituted special squads to maintain traffic flow in the capital and a detailed deployment plan has been made to control the traffic in the city. He has also directed the staffers to take strict action against one wheeling, racing and those running bikes and vehicles without silences.

More than 400 traffic policemen in form of various teams headed by Zonal DSPs, Inspectors, beat officers will be deployed in the whole district. Special traffic police squads will also keep patrolling to curb one-wheeling and racing practices. On the directions of IGP Islamabad Bani Amin Khan, SSP (Traffic) said that special plan has been prepared on the occasion and Islamabad police will assist traffic police to curb rash driving and one wheeling.

According to the same press note, SSP Islamabad Yaseen Farooq has directed all Station House Officers to maintain close coordination with other police wings for ensuring elaborate security. Special police deployment will be also ensured at Blue Area, Super Market, Jinnah Super Market, sectors F-10 and F-11, Faizabad, Aabpara market while police reserves will remain stand by for assistance in case of any untoward situation.