Ashura observed to mark the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) on the 9th and 10th of Muharram ranks as one of the most holy days on the Islamic calendar for Muslims throughout the world. However the sad aspect regarding the month of Muharram in Pakistan is the fear that it brings, the fear of violence that has destroyed peace and harmony in the country in recent years. Since the 2004 bombing during the Ashura procession in Quetta which claimed the life of forty-two people and left more than hundred injured, the month of Muharram has witnessed some form of violence in Pakistan quite regularly. Ten people were killed in attack on an Imambargah in Balochistan’s Bolan area on Thursday. Yesterday, a bomb detonated in a Muharram procession in Jacobabad killing at least 14 people and injuring many others. The pattern suggests that due to strict security arrangements in the big cities terrorists have started targeting smaller towns where security is lax.
Although violence has come down relatively in Pakistan, the authorities must remain on their toes to prevent any acts of terrorism as the climax of the Muharram mourning period approaches. Since the start of the month of Muharram, law enforcement agencies have been working on elaborate plans to ensure peace. In this regard mobile phone services will be suspended across Punjab and Sindh on 10th Muharram from morning till night.
In nine districts of Punjab, that have been declared sensitive areas increased security has been put in place. The movement of certain Ulemas has also been restricted; these Ulema are believed to spread sectarian differences. Law enforcement agencies have promised that sectarian hatred will be clamped down on with more force than ever before. With all of these security arrangements in place we hope that this Ashura will be observed peacefully.
Authorities have made stringent security arrangements to ensure peaceful observance of Ashura.