KARACHI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR/QUETTA (INP): Country-wide security arrangements for the month of Muharram processions have all been completed in various cities as the federal and provincial governments are putting in their extra efforts to ensure peace and tranquillity on the occasion of Ashura.
There are fears that TTP and other militant groups could carry out explosions and terrorist attacks during the Muharram processions and Mahafils on the 9th and 10th.
The government has imposed a ban on pillion riding in Islamabad on Muharram 9, 10 and 11 whereas mobile services will also be suspended on the routes of processions.
Reportedly, as many as 32,695 personnel from Army, Rangers and Frontier Corps (FC) have been deployed for the security.
In Karachi, the security arrangements have been finalized for the central mourning processions in connection with Ashura. Meantime, the city police have also completed their preparations for the purpose. The route of the central procession has been secured by plugging the link roads leading up to MA Jinnah Road with shipping containers. All the shops located on MA Jinnah Road — the procession route, have also been sealed for security purposes.
Several abutting roads and locations including Preedy Street, Empress Market Chowk and Sarmad Road have been barricaded for vehicular traffic.
The traffic will not be allowed to go past Sea Breeze Plaza on MA Jinnah Road. Also, Saddar Dawakhan Road will remain closed during Muharram processions. Data has been configured from those living in the pathways of main processions while security officers in simple dresses will also be positioned there.
On the other hand police rounded up a suspicious man near Numaish Chowrangi in Karachi on Sunday. SSP East Pir Muhammad Shah was in the area with his convoy when he spotted the suspect. He asked the police personnel travelling with him to search the man. Police, after finding a suspicious bottle in his possession, arrested and shifted the suspect to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
SSP Shah confirmed the arrest, saying that the suspect is still under interrogation. Pillion riding has also been banned in 10 districts of Sindh on Muharram 8, 9 and 10 in addition to Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Khairpur and Sanghar.
Under the security measures, ban on pillion riding and cellular service will continue in Lahore and other sensitive district of Punjab. 1 million and 32 thousand police officers will perform their duties in Punjab. 55 contingents of army and 28 contingents of rangers would be kept at standby round the clock to assist district administration and police in case of emergency.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu and Tank have been declared as extremely sensitive areas whereas deferral of cellular service in Abbottabad, Kohat, Gilgit and Skardu will be kept on.
Authorities have decided to impose curfew in some areas of Bannu on 9th and 10th Muharram as part of security measures for mourning processions. The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Deputy Commissioner Bannu, Muhammad Ayaz. The meeting decided that curfew will be imposed on the route of processions that will emerge on 9th and 10th Muharram in different areas of Bannu district.
In Peshawar, ban on pillion riding is enforced from Muharram 01 and will continue till 10. Being close to Khyber Agency, extra security measures have been put in place where Police, Rangers and Army will be ensuring the security of the processions.
All the entry and exit points in Hangu have been sealed for security reasons. Extra ordinary security arrangements have been made in Quetta which in the past had seen incidents of terrorism against the Hazara Shia community. All roads leading to the main processions have been blocked and additional police and FC personnel have been deployed.