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ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: Surveillance is being increased around proscribed religious leaders and those considered a threat to religious or sectarian harmony in Muharram.

With the help of its intelligence wings, including the Special Branch, the police are checking the presence of proscribed individuals living in Islamabad.

A police officer said the concerned police stations have been directed to seek assurances from individuals of their presence during the month.

Proscribed individuals are being asked to seek the local police’s permission before movement. They have to submit details such as the reason for movement and the engagement, and may be allowed movement within the city but not outside, he said.

Rawalpindi police prepare list of 36 ulema with history of provocative speeches

Surveillance has also been increased around them and their homes to intercept them, he said. The details of proscribed religious leaders and personalities living in the capital and other parts of the country are available with the capital police and are being shared with police stations, personnel at pickets including points of entry into Islamabad, the Special Branch and the Safe City Project.

The concerned senior officers are to be informed of such individuals’ movement immediately, the officer said, and they should be intercepted if they attempt to leave the city.

Even proscribed individuals who live in other parts of the country should be intercepted if spotted in the capital, he said. The district police and administration were also being approached to regulate their movement, he said.

Security around seminaries is also being increased.

The Muharram moon will be sighted next week. The police and administration have already begun approaching ulema from various schools of thought to maintain peace during the month, a capital administration official said, and a few meetings were scheduled with ulema in this regard.

A total of 177 mourning processions and 909 majlises will be held in the first 10 days of Muharram in the city, he said. Only traditional and permitted gatherings will be allowed.

Strict action will be taken against those who lead processions or hold majlises without permission, the official said.

The largest procession in the city will be taken out on Muharram 9 from the G-6 imambargah, and 3,500 personnel will be deployed for security arrangements.

Officials from the operation, security, traffic, headquarters, the anti-riot unit, Anti-Terrorist Squad and Counter Terrorism Force, and paramilitary troops will perform duties from Muharram 1 to 10.

Police on Wednesday reviewed security arrangements for Muharram and decided to increase surveillance and patrolling in various areas.

The SSP directed all sub-divisional police officers (SDPO) and station house officers (SHO) to liaise closely with peace committees and organisers of processions and gatherings, they said.

The timing of processions is to be observed strictly, and they must follow fixed routes, they said.

All majlis and procession entry and exit points should be covered with a contingent of well-equipped police and walkthrough gates should be installed as well.

SHOs have also been asked to collect details of volunteers performing security duties during the month.

Rawalpindi

The Punjab government has asked police across the province to verify the names and whereabouts of ulema and zakireen from all sects living in their respective districts who have a history of provocative and objectionable speech.

Sources said the provincial home department wishes to ban the entry of such individuals within their respective districts to maintain peace in Muharram.

In line with the government’s directives, the Rawalpindi police have made lists of figures from various sects living in the districts who have a history of delivering provocative speeches.

The police have also been directed to monitor their activities and send details of their movement and whether they are alive.

According to sources the Rawalpindi police have made a list of 36 ulema, of which some live within the district and some outside it.

The police have also suggested that eight ulema and zakireen living in the district be stopped from delivering provocative speech, while 23 who live outside the district and five who live in other provinces should be banned from the district in Muharram.

A senior police official said the details of all 36 individuals, as well as their whereabouts and other particulars, have been prepared and sent to the provincial authorities.

The police have also prepared a list of individuals who were placed on a watch-list under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act. The individuals on the watch-list are under surveillance by police and intelligence.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018