KARACHI, Nov 23: Amid tight security arrangements, the city’s main procession of 8th Muharram passed through its traditional route and culminated at Hussainia Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar area on Friday evening.
While officials said no unpleasant incident happened throughout the day, threat still loomed large.
The procession emerged from Nishtar Park after Friday prayers and Majlis, which was addressed by Allama Mohammad Ali Naqvi.
Mourners participating in the procession proceeded from Nishtar Park to Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Road, Father Jaminis Road and Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khurasan before emerging on M.A. Jinnah Road. Following its conventional route, the procession terminated at the Hussainian Iranian Imambargah.
The procession was also monitored at a command and control centre set up at the central police office through security cameras.
Before and after the procession, top police officials visited the notified route and were briefed on security arrangements by senior officers.
“More than 5,000 policemen have been tasked with Ashura procession security,” Sindh IG Fayyaz Leghari told reporters at the end of his visit.
“No participant will be allowed to enter into the procession from front. All link roads will be sealed, commercial areas closed and movement other than procession will remain banned during the procession.” The procession route was sealed as shops and markets situated on both sides of the M. A. Jinnah Road were closed under the security plan issued by the city police last week.
The shops were sealed in the wee hours of the day with containers blocking all the roads linking them with M.A. Jinnah Road.
After the procession culminated at Hussainia Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar, city police chief Iqbal Mahmood briefed the media about the security arrangements for the next two days.
“We are managing security of some 6,200 Majalis and 1,500 mourning processions, which is definitely a huge challenge but we are putting in our best efforts while utilising all resources,” he said. “Policemen will stay at all sensitive areas round the clock and will be deployed on procession route early morning at 6am. On ground, 21,000 city policemen have been deployed as part of security measures till Ashura.”
He showed his ignorance about the ban on motorcycle riding on 9th and 10th Muharram but reiterated that biking near Imambargah and Majalis as well as procession venues would not be allowed.
“Parking space has been allocated for participants in the processions and Majalis. We expect people and community elders to play their role in strengthening security arrangements and cooperate with the law-enforcement agencies,” added AIG Mahmood.