The martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (RA) was observed across the country including Karachi, Lahore and other major cities amidst strict security arrangements on Wednesday.
The main procession of Youm-i-Ali in Karachi started from Nishtar Park where Maulana Kumail Mahdvi in his sermon highlighted different aspects of the life of Hazrat Ali and his teachings.
The participants offered Zuhrain prayers at Imambargah Ali Raza on main M.A. Jinnah Road where activists of Imamia Students Organisation demonstrated against injustices meted out to Palestinians and other Muslims around the world.
After passing through its traditional routes, the procession culminated at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah at Kharadar.
Stringent security measures were taken to avert any untoward incident, with bomb disposal squads inspecting the routes of the procession and the provincial government having already imposed a ban on pillion riding.
Around 6,000 policemen and over 1,500 Rangers personnel were deployed for security of the procession, said DIG of Karachi-South Zone Azad Khan.
The DIG said the procession concluded peacefully as no untoward incident was reported.
However, the senior officer revealed that some of the people among the procession protested against 'missing persons' outside Ali Raza Imambargah on M.A. Jinnah Road for a while.
The city police chief reviewed the security arrangements through CCTV cameras and issued necessary directions to security personnel for effective security.
A ban on pillion riding had been imposed in Karachi, with orders for police deployment at imambargahs, mosques and other sensitive places.
Some 5,572 policemen, with 72 police mobiles, 65 motorcycles, and eight vans, performed duties in their respective areas of Karachi to maintain law and order, and top police officials had been asked to ensure strict monitoring of processions and rallies in different areas.
The procession began at 1pm from Nishtar Park. From there it moved through Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Road, Father Jaminis Road, M.A. Jinnah Road, Mansfield Street, M.A. Jinnah Road, Boulton Market, Rampat Rai Road, Nawab Mahabat Khanjee Road, and culminated at the Hussainian Iranian Imambargah.
No vehicles were allowed to be parked along the procession route.
A four-layer security plan had been devised to maintain law and order under which over 6,000 policemen were deployed in the city.
Streets and roads leading towards the route of the main procession were cordoned off with barbed wires and barricades. The participants were allowed entry after frisking, checking with metal detectors and walk-through gates at four different points.
As many as 340 CCTVs besides the cameras of the Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) were installed for surveillance of the venue and route.
Snipers were deployed on nearby buildings to keep an eye on any suspicious persons or activities.
Policemen in civvies also performed duties as per the plan. The personnel of the Police Response Unit (PRU) and Dolphin Squad remained alert in the nearby areas to respond to any emergency. Senior police officers monitored the security arrangements.
City Traffic Police had also chalked out a detailed plan to ensure the smooth and safe flow of vehicles.
According to the traffic plan, two superintendents of police (SPs), five deputy superintendents of police (DSPs), 46 inspectors, 90 women traffic wardens and more than 522 traffic wardens performed their duties on the route of the main procession.
Traffic was diverted to alternative routes and a large number of wardens were deployed at those points to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
The Youm-i-Ali procession started from Akbari Gate and passed through Mubarak Haveli, Chowk Nawab Sahab, Bazaar Mochi Gate, Lal Khooh, Mughal Haveli, Takia Nathay Shah, Chowk Nawab Sahab, Chohta Mufti Baqir, Purani Kotwali, Chowk Naugaza, Chowk Taranam, Chowk Tibbi, Bazaar Hakeema, Oonchi Masjid, Bhati Gate and Chowk Bhatti before culminating at Karbala Gamay Shah.
The citizens were able to park their cars and motorcycles at Nasser Bagh, Deputy Commissioner Office, Mochi Gate Bagh, Data Darbar Eye Hospital, Central Model High School, Parking D-Plaza Rang Mahal and Adda Crown.
Chief Traffic Officer Rai Ijaz Ahmad directed the traffic wardens to keep an eye on suspicious vehicles and persons while performing their duties.