KARACHI: The Sindh government has directed the district administration and law enforcement agencies to take strict security measures for implementation of a code of conduct during Muharram to maintain peace and sectarian harmony.
They were also asked to use surveillance cameras, where required, and carry out cleanliness on the routes of Muharram processions and majalis.
The directives were issued by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while chairing a high-level meeting here to review security arrangements during Muharram, which begins on Wednesday.
Referring to street crime, the meeting was informed that an intelligence-based operation had already been launched against street criminals, carjackers and bandits, whose results could be seen in the days to come.
Implementation of Muharram code of conduct ordered
Mr Shah observed that as the ulema of different schools of thought played a very constructive role in maintaining sectarian harmony in the province, there was no chance of any untoward incident during Muharram.
Over 69,000 police, 7,000 Rangers to perform duty
However, he said the Sindh government would provide complete security to every Muharram procession by deploying 69,545 policemen in addition to some 7,000 Rangers across the province.
He formed a committee comprising provincial ministers Saeed Ghani, Syed Nasir Shah and adviser Murtaza Wahab to hold meeting with ulema for implementation of the code of conduct.
“I would personally meet with ulema of different sects and take them into confidence on the decisions taken for their security,” he said.
Earlier, Home Secretary Kazi Kabir briefed the meeting on the code of conduct and said all the DIGs had been directed to provide adequate security till Chehlum.
Meetings of peace committees were also being held at all levels, he added.
Additional Inspector General Dr Amir Shaikh informed the meeting that there were 1,996 Imambargahs in the province, including 356 in Karachi, 590 in Hyderabad, 118 in Mirpurkhas, 93 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 374 in Sukkur and 456 in Larkana divisions.
He added that there would be 3,513 processions and 319 of them had been categorised as “most sensitive” and 1,059 as “sensitive”.
The meeting was told that out of 786 mourning processions, 11 were declared “most sensitive” and 312 as “sensitive”.
He said 17,558 policemen were being deployed in Karachi; 16,816 in Hyderabad; 2,237 in Mirpurkhas; 9,280 in Shaheed Benazirabad; 8,253 in Sukkur and 15,401 in Larkana divisions.
Around 7,000 Rangers personnel would be deployed in the province, he added.
Police and other law enforcement agencies had established close coordination and a control room had been set up in Karachi for timely dissemination of information, he said, adding that a mechanism had been evolved to share intelligence reports, and joint intelligence-based operations as well as joint flag march were being carried out.
184 surveillance cameras for Karachi processions
The chief minister directed Karachi Commissioner Sualeh Farooqi to use CCTV cameras procured for monitoring of polling stations during the July 25 elections.
“We can use these CCTV cameras at the place where they are required,” he said.
The meeting was told that the processions of 8th and 9th Muharram and Ashura would be monitored through 184 CCTV cameras — 43 different spots along routes of the processions would be monitored through 55 mobile cameras.
A centralised command and control room had been established at the Central Police Office and at the regional command centre at Civic Centre.
The CM also directed Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani to ensure repair/patch work of roads, lifting of debris, solid waste and removal of other obstructions from the areas which had been designated as routes of processions or majalis.
He ordered him to ensure general cleanliness, covers of manholes and availability of fire tenders and bowsers.
He also issued directives for removal of loose cables in coordination with K-Electric and other power distribution companies, telecom firms and cable operators in the province.
He directed the police to take all-out measures for curbing the menace of street crime.
Code of conduct
According to the code of conduct, no criticism of any sect and sacred personalities would be allowed. A ban on purchase, sale and telecasting of hate/violent material has been imposed. The police will record all speeches of prominent speakers.
Hoisting of political, sectarian flags, banners at public places is strictly restricted. There is a complete ban on carrying weapons. A restricted use of loudspeaker is allowed. Activities of all those placed on Schedule IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act would be monitored.
The CM said that Shikarpur, Jacobabad and Larkana districts were declared “sensitive” so strict security measures must be taken there.
The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Chief Secretary Azam Suleman, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, administrative secretaries, senior police officers and others. The commissioners and DIGs of all the divisions also joined the meeting via a video link.
Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018