PESHAWAR, Nov 23: The Friday prayers were offered in Peshawar’s old city areas under unprecedented security with police patrolling the streets and checking people at temporary checkpoints.

Police also checked the people riding motorcycles and vehicles on the roads of Peshawar cantonment areas.

The officials said they had some information about a possible attempt of sabotage in the day and therefore, security was tightened.

The presence of an abandoned thermos in Saddar Bazaar caused panic among visitors and shopkeepers. The bazaar was closed in minutes.

An official of the Bomb Disposal Unit told Dawn that it was just a hoax because the thermos was empty. He said search for the owner of the thermos had yet to bear fruit.

According to police, in some areas of the interior of Peshawar city, the people were allowed to enter mosques after bodysearch, while some roads in cantonment area were also closed for Friday prayers.

Also in the day, police strictly enforced ban on pillion riding.

District Coordination Officer, Peshawar Javaid Khan Marwat told Dawn that security measures in the city were satisfactory and the officials of the relevant departments were alert to possible acts of sabotage.

“We will not allow anyone to violate the ban on pillion riding because the situation is very sensitive and terrorists may take advantage of any relaxation. However, there will be no ban on the riding of motorcycles,” he said.

The DCO said the situation in Peshawar was under control and there would be no ban on the use of cellphone because it could cause inconvenience to the administration and security personnel.

Meanwhile, an official of the city police said the lower rank personnel of police had been directed to avoid the use of cellphones during duty hours and disciplinary action would be taken against those violating the directive.

Also in the day, police sealed the entire Saddar Bazaar as the main procession will appear today (Saturday) from Imambargah Hussainia Hall located there near the General Post Office.

Police blocked all roads, including both sides of Saddar Road, Arbab Road and Stadium Chowk Road by barbed wire and cemented blocks. The streets linking different bazaars of Saddar area were also closed by chains.

An official of police said mourners could reach the imambargah by three different entry points through walkthrough gates where volunteers of Imamia Student Organisation and other scouts would personally check them.

He said the policewomen and volunteers would remain present on the occasion to check purses and bags of women participants of the processions.

The official said all mourners from across the provincial capital would gather in Saddar and that was why strict security checks were put in place to avoid any untoward incident.

He said mourners could park their vehicles near FG School on Mall Road, where police would be on high alert.

Similarly, police sealed the entire Saddar Bazaar because the main procession will appear from Imambargah Hussainia Hall, located near General Post Office in Saddar.

Police blocked all roads, including both sides of Saddar Road, Arbab Road and Stadium Chowk Road by barbed wire and cemented blocks. The streets linking different bazaars of Saddar area were also closed by chains.

Police said the mourners could reach the imambargah by three different entry points after using walkthrough gates where volunteers of Imamia Students Organisation and other scouts would bodysearch them.


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