The Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain and the martyrs of Karbala will be observed on Friday with processions being held in all major cities of Pakistan.
Cellphone services have been suspended by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority in Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Shikarpur and Jacobabad until 10pm today at the request of the Sindh government, the chief minister's spokesperson told Dawn.
All schools and colleges across the province will remain closed on the occasion.
Karachi traffic plan
Police have devised a traffic management plan for Karachi. The main procession will be taken out from Nishtar Park at 1pm, prior to which an Alam procession will arrive from Shah-i-Najaf Imambargah on Martin Road.
“From Nishtar Park, the procession will move to Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Road, Father Jaminis Road, Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khurasan, M.A. Jinnah Road, Mansfield Street, Preedy Street,” said a police statement.
“As soon as the procession begins from Nishtar Park, all vehicular traffic coming from city’s centre will be diverted towards Soldier Bazaar from M.A. Jinnah Road’s Dr Dawoodpota junction. All traffic coming from Nazimabad will be diverted at Lasbela towards Nishtar Road and the Zoological Garden.”
The vehicular traffic coming from Liaquatabad, it said, would be diverted from the left of Dak Khana Altaf Ali Barelvi Road, University Road, Jail Flyover, PPP Chowrangi, Dada Bhoy Noorji Road, Kashmir Road, Society, Shahrah-i-Quaideen, Sharea Faisal, Lucky Star, Sarwar Shaheed Road, Fawwara Chowk, Shaheen Complex, I.I. Chundrigar Road and Tower.
“Commuters coming from Stadium Road shall proceed through the New M.A. Jinnah Road,” said the statement.
“These vehicles will be diverted at the Dada Bhoy Noorji Road towards Kashmir Road, Society Light Signal, Shahrah-i-Quaideen and Sharea Faisal.
“The traffic from Superhighway will be diverted from Liaquatabad No. 10 towards Chowrangi No. 2 in Nazimabad and proceed via Habib Bank Chowk, Estate Avenue Road, Shershah and Mauripur Road. The commuters heading back will have to adopt the same return route.”
The traffic from National Highway, the statement added, will proceed via Rashid Minhas Road, Stadium Road, Sir Shah Suleman Road, Hassan Square, Liaquatabad No. 10, Nazimabad No. 2, Habib Bank, Estate Avenue Road, Shershah and Mauripur Road.
For return journey, these vehicles should adopt the same route, added the statement.
“Vehicles will not be allowed to proceed towards the route of the procession from the Guru Mandir roundabout. These vehicles will be diverted onto Bahadur Yar Jang Road and then Khan Bahadur Naqi Mohammed Khan Road,” it said.
“They will not be permitted to proceed on Soldier Bazaar Road from the junction of Khan Bahadur Naqi Mohammed Khan Road and Bahadur Yar Jang Road. The traffic coming towards Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum via M.A. Jinnah Road will be diverted towards Bahadur Yar Jang Road.”
No vehicular traffic would be permitted to proceed towards Purani Numaish under any circumstances, it said, adding that those approaching the area via Shahrah-i-Quaideen — except those who have to attend the procession and have stickers pasted on their windscreens issued from this office — would not be allowed to proceed from the roundabout of Society Office’s Light Signal behind the mausoleum.
Lahore security plan
The Lahore police have finalised a security plan for the Chehlum, deputing more than 1,000 police personnel.
According to a press release issued on Thursday, senior police officers including SPs, DSPs and SHOs have been assigned tasks to provide security to cover the event.
Sharing details, Operations DIG Dr Haider Ashraf said nine SPs, 24 DSPs and 74 SHOs would discharge duties for the security on Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain besides other policemen.
He said presently three SPs, 10 DSPs, 28 SHOs and nearly 2,500 police personnel are providing security to the Urs of Data Saheb in the city.
Similarly, a good number of policemen are also doing [security] duties for the Raiwind congregation.
Rawalpindi security, traffic plan
The Rawalpindi district administration imposed Section 144 in the city and declared a public holiday in all schools and universities as well as government departments for Chehlum on Friday.
Cellphone services will also remain suspended from 10am to 10pm along the route of the procession.
All markets in Raja Bazaar and adjoining areas will remain closed. The metro bus service will also be unavailable.
The police cordoned off the main route of the mourning procession with containers on Thursday night.
Seminaries around the traditional route of the procession, including Taleemul Quran madressah in Raja Bazaar, have already declared a holiday. The police have been asked to remain vigilant, especially about the workers of a religious party staging a sit-in in Faizabad.
The district administration has also set up a control room from where the route of the Chehlum procession will be monitored through CCTV cameras.
Acting Commissioner Talat Mehmood told Dawn that 17 army companies and two companies of the Rangers would help the district administration and police maintain peace in case of an emergency.
He said section 144 had been imposed and no public gathering, except the mourning procession, would be allowed in the district. He said the ban on the use of loudspeakers would also be implemented.
“The organisers of the mourning procession have been asked to ensure the timetable agreed upon by them and the administration,” he said.
Meanwhile, the acting commissioner reviewed arrangements for the Chehlum procession and asked religious leaders belonging to different schools of thought to play their role in maintaining peace in the city.
He said religious leaders of all sects would lead the procession along with the district administration officials and police.
The city traffic police have chalked out a plan for the chehlum under which there will be 24 diversions. The police will deploy 270 officials to ensure smooth flow of traffic in the city.
Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Shahid Yousuf said DAV College Road would be closed and no vehicle would be allowed towards Fawara Chowk from the college chowk as the procession would reach there.
Traffic from Novelty Cinema to Kashmiri Bazaar will be diverted towards Transit Camp for Saddar. Another diversion will be put in place near the city police station where traffic coming from Novelty Cinema will be diverted towards Gunjmandi.
From Gunjmandi, all traffic will be diverted to Dhoke Hassu, Pirwadhai, to reach Saddar.
At Shah Allah Ditta Road, the traffic will be diverted towards Dhoke Dalal and TB Hospital, Asghar Mall Chowk.
Motorists have been advised not to take Banni Chowk, Kartarpura Road and Jamia Masjid Road when the procession would be passing from there.
Another diversion will be put in place at Roshan Bakery near Banni Chowk where traffic coming from link roads will be sent back.
The traffic will take the Circular Road via Saidpur Road to reach Murree Road. Another diversion will be from Hamilton Road where vehicles will be allowed towards Bansanwala Bazaar, Dingi Khoi and Gunjmandi Road.
No traffic will be allowed from Bansanwala Chowk towards Jamia Masjid Road and there will be a diversion towards Pirwadhai road. Another diversion will be from Pir Choa Chowk towards Baltistani Imambara and the traffic will use Asghar Mall Scheme Chowk and Pirwadhai.
Peshawar security plan
Over 3,000 police personnel have been deployed in Peshawar city to ensure security today.
A city police statement said here that the police department had chalked out a comprehensive security plan to maintain peace on the eve of Chehlum.
It said that about 3,334 police personnel would ensure security of mosques, imambargahs and other sensitive places.
It said that they had deputed personnel in plainclothes and ladies police in the interior city where most of the imambargahs are located.
It said that under the security plan the city had been divided into different sectors. Also, observation points have been set up to ensure foolproof security to the processions. A DSP level officer would supervise these points in each sector.
In addition, CCTV cameras have been installed along the routes of processions. A command post has been set up at Shahbaz Chowk to monitor live feed from these cameras.
The statement said that five special police mobiles would be on patrol in the limits of the city police division and additional rider squads would also perform their duties all over the city. The police personnel would set up checkpoints across the city, while five armoured personnel carriers have also been deployed.
This report has been compiled using bureau reports filed in Dawn's Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar Metros on November 10.