SHIKARPUR: Sixteen shops within the proximity of the central imambargah known as Karbala-i-Moalla — where more than 60 people were killed and around 80 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack during Juma congregation on Jan 31, 2015 — are to be demolished ahead of the advent of Muharram to save the religious place from another act of terrorism.

A decision to this effect was taken by the Sindh government after repeated protests organised by the Shuhada Committee — formed by the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) after the incident — over the next several months to demand foolproof measures on a permanent basis to ensure safety and security of the Shia community and its religious places in Shikarpur, as well as other parts of the province.

Demolition of the shops was one of the many demands accepted by the government to persuade the Shuhada Committee to end its protest march from Shikarpur to Karachi held in February 2016.

On Thursday, owners of the 16 shops to be demolished were given the cheques of compensation at the rate of Rs200,000 each. They were told to vacate their shops to facilitate the demolition process. The cheques were distributed by Deputy Commissioner Sikandar Ali Khushk, who had called the shop-owners to his office.

According to sources, the provincial government has already directed the Shikarpur district administration to get the shops — located in the city’s central area of Lakhi Gate — demolished and clear the entire locality for the mourning processions and congregations.

Necessary directives have also been issued to the taluka mukhtiarkar Abdul Hafeez Memon, who said the demolition work would be undertaken within a couple of days.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2016

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