KARACHI: The security and civic administrations have decided to change the traditional route of mourning procession for Yaum-i-Ali in Ramazan citing security and administrative challenges, officials said on Friday.

This decision has been taken mainly due to the ongoing construction activity on M. A. Jinnah Road — main route of the procession.

“Change in the routes of the procession in connection with the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali on 21st of Ramazan has been taken in consultation with religious scholars/organisers of the procession,” said the city police chief Additional IG of Karachi Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh.

He also disclosed that the Sindh home department had issued a notification to this effect. However, Mr Shaikh added that this would be a temporary arrangement till the construction was under way on M. A. Jinnah Road.

He said there were new challenges, besides some civic issues on new routes of the procession. These and other issues also came under deliberations in a recent meeting chaired by the city police chief at his office.

It was decided in the meeting that the main procession would be taken out from Nishtar Park and it would pass through different roads but would not take main M. A. Jinnah Road.

Instead, the mourners would go to New M. A. Jinnah Road at Peoples Chowrangi to come on Preedy Street on their route to Imambargah Hussainian Iranian in Kharadar.

Also the mourners, instead of offering Namaz-i-Zuhrain at Ali Raza Imambargah as per the past practice, would offer the prayer near the Quaid-i-Azam mausoleum.

It was also decided that there would be new allocation of parking lots.

Except for 12 points on different roads, the route would be completely sealed and there would be no entry or exit.

It was decided that closed-circuit television cameras would be installed at ‘sensitive points’ of Majalis and route of the procession and concerned SSPs would ensure smooth functioning of the CCTVs with the help of stakeholders concerned, according to minutes of the meeting reviewed by Dawn on Friday.

All objectionable sign boards and wall-chalking would be removed from the route of procession while coordination would be ensured with religious leaders for sectarian harmony and to avoid any untoward incident.

Constant contact would also be ensured among law enforcement agencies to meet any eventuality.

Full attention would be given to host of places particularly at Soldier Bazaar, Brigade, Shah Faisal, Liaquatabad, Orangi and Azizabad till 27th of Ramazan while civic bodies/utilities would be directed to ensure uninterrupted civil facilities on and before Yaum-i-Ali.

Hotels located on the route will be checked from time to time for arrest of criminals/terrorists while push-carts and other encroachments would be removed from the route of procession.

The city police chief told Dawn that concerted efforts were under way for civil works and installation of CCTV cameras on the route.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2019