LAHORE: The government has decided that Metro Bus Service in Lahore will remain closed from Friday to Saturday due to security reasons on the occasion of Muharram-ul-Haram.
According to the MBS authorities, the bus service will resume on Sunday.
There are 64 buses in MBS fleet and estimated 150,000 passengers use this service for inter-city travel on daily basis.
The metrobus scheme opened under Shahbaz Sharif s guidance in Lahore in 2013. The project was built in a year at a cost of around 30 billion rupees.
However, critics have branded the metrobus as “wasteful”, saying priority should be given to spending on education, health and the environment.
Mobile phone services will remain shut on Muharram 9 and 10 from 8am-8pm in Punjab while Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif has ordered authorities to have ban on pillion riding implemented.
The CM chaired a meeting in Model Town on Wednesday and reviewed security arrangement for mourning processions in Muharram.
Shahbaz directed law enforcers to take special care of mosques, sacred places, imambargahs and shrines. The CM has stressed 4-tier-cordon for protection of processions.
CM Shahbaz directed all regional police officers (RPO) and divisional commissioners to personally pay visits to respective districts and review the arrangements. The officials were also asked to file reports in the matter.
On the other hand, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner has written a letter to the Interior Ministry, urging to shut mobile phone services in G-6 and G-7 of the federal capital. The letter was written to provide foolproof security to the people during mourning processions.
Separately, Sindh Home Department has banned pillion riding in Karachi, Sukkur, Kherpur, Shikarpur, Mirpur Khas, larkana, Jamshoro and Hyderabad from October 21 to October 24. The ban has been imposed since October 20 midnight.
Balochistan government has also imposed ban on pillion riding in Quetta on Muharram 9 and 10.
In another step taken to ensure protection of locals, deployment of the Pakistan Army in the federal capital has been extended by as many as 90 days. The district administration has issued an official notification in the matter.
Army men have been deployed in Islamabad for security purposes. At least 350 soldiers are performing duties in the federal capital.
The administration had written a letter to National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) urging for extension in stay after the period expired. Extension was sought for security reasons including Muharram processions. The soldiers will remain standby and alert to counter any ill-activity.
The development has also come in regard to Interior Ministry’s decision of handing over security maintenance to army during Muharram.
According to the Interior Ministry, at least 12,000 army personnel will be deployed across the country.
The army will take care of highly-sensitive areas in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Gujranwala, Jhang, Chakwal, Dera Ismail (DI) Khan, Kohat, Hangu, Bannu and Quetta.
It should be mentioned here that DI Khan is among four district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) that have been declared extremely sensitive and are most vulnerable to terror attacks during Muharram. NN