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KARACHI : Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that foolproof security must be maintained during the 9th and 10th of Muharram as several meetings on security arrangements had been held and personal visits made to the route of the mourning processions.

“We have been holding regular meetings on the security of Muharram and have personally visited the route of main procession, therefore there should be no issue as far as security is concerned,” said Mr Shah while presiding over a meeting on law and order at CM House on Monday.

At the meeting, the police chief gave him a detailed briefing on security arrangements with specific reference to the 9th and 10th Muharram processions route and Majalis.

“On the 9th of Muharram there will be 528 Majalis, including 39 Majalis to be held by Sunnis, in the city. Similarly, on the 10th of Muharram, there will be 403 Majalis, including 23 to be arranged by Sunnis, in the city,” said IG Police A.D. Khowaja.

He added that 279 and 289 mourning processions would be held on the 9th and 10th of Muharram, respectively. The police chief said that 25,674 police officials, including 389 policewomen, would be deployed on the day of Ashura.

He also briefed the chief minister about the flashpoints of the main procession where extraordinary security arrangements had been made by deploying personnel from four platoons of the reserve police force. He said they would be deployed at Nishtar Park, Numaish Chowrangi, Imambargah Ali Raza, Capri Cinema, Saddar Dawakhana, Empress Market, Regal Chowk, Tibet Centre, Saeed Manzil, Radio Pakistan, Eidgah Market, Lighthouse, Boultan Market, Bara Imambargah, Baghdadi, and Hussainian-Iranian Imambargah, Kharadar.Referring to the route of the mourning procession to be taken out on Tuesday, the police chief said the procession would be taken out at 8am from Bab-i-Fatima Imambargah. It would take a U-turn towards Liaquatabad Dak Khana and after passing through Teen Hatti, Shah-i-Najaf Imambargah, Martin Quarters, Jamia Binoria, Guru Mandar, Bahaduryar Jung Road, Soldier Bazaar it would merge into the main procession at Nishtar Park. The main procession would start from Nishtar Park at 12noon. After passing through the traditional route to Numasih, participants in the procession would offer Zuhr prayers at Ali Raza Imambargah on M.A. Jinnah Road. From there, the mourners would proceed towards Empress Market. After crossing the Regal Chowk, the marchers would turn towards M.A. Jinnah Road and then pass through the areas of Denso Hall, Boultan Market and Plastic Market to reach the Hussainian-Iranian Imambargah, Kharadar.

The police chief said the Ashura procession would start from Nishtar Park at 10am and after passing through the traditional route would culminate at the Hussainian-Iranian Imambargah, Kharadar on Wednesday evening.

Additional IG Police Karachi Mushtaq Maher said that the main Tazia procession would be joined by small Tazias to be taken out from different parts of the metropolis. The Tazia procession would converge on M.A. Jinnah Road and proceed to Native Jetty straight via M.A Jinnah Road.

He said large contingent of police would act as buffer to maintain safe distance.

The chief minister said it was observed that many people did not follow the traditional route by leaving a gap between the head and tail of the procession. He said this gap must be protected properly. “I would suggest that gap may not be allowed to develop,” he added.

Mr Shah also discussed evacuation plan in case of any untoward incident.

Also present at the meeting were adviser to the chief minister on law Murtaza Wahab and Chief Secretary Siddique Memon besides home secretary and other government officials.

Published in Dawn October 11th, 2016