KARACHI: Police and Rangers claimed to have taken all-out measures to ensure security for the main Ashura procession to be taken out in the city on Tuesday (today).
“Foolproof security measures have been made for the main procession of 10th Muharram on Tuesday (today). The procession would start early at around 7.30am and culminate in Kharadar at around 4pm,” DIG-East Amir Farooqi said.
He said that 7,000 policemen and 3,000 Rangers personnel would be deployed for the security of Ashura procession in the city. Aerial surveillance, through drone cameras, of the main procession would also be carried out.
Officials said that mobile phone service would also be suspended at particular places in the city and other parts of the province on the request of DIGs/commissioners concerned.
Also, a ban on pillion-riding is in place in the city.
9th Muharram procession ends safely
The 9th Muharram procession to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husain and his companions was taken out in the city on Monday amid tight security and hot and humid weather.
Allama Shahanshah Hussain Naqvi addressed a majlis at around 1:15pm at the Nistar Park. Later, the main procession was taken out from the park, which culminated at Imambargah Hussainian Iranian after passing through its traditional routes in the evening. Shabbar Zaidi and Sarwar Zaidi led the procession.
Arrangements were made to provide water and juices to mourners as the mercury soared to 38 degrees Celsius on Monday with 70 per cent humidity.
Some participants of the mourning procession staged a demonstration in front of the Quaid’s mausoleum against enforced disappearances of members of the Shia community and to express solidarity with their families.
DIG-East Amir Farooqi told Dawn that the participants just sat there for some time but did not raise any slogan. The deputy commissioner and SSP concerned met with the protesters and according to a spokesperson of Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) they assured them that they would take up the issue of “missing” persons after Ashura.
The DIG said that no untoward incident was reported as the procession ended peacefully.
Mobile phone services remained suspended in areas situated along the route of the main procession.
Apart from heavy deployment of Rangers and police, the law enforcers on Monday also sought the help of Frontier Constabulary as around 100 personnel were also deployed for security.
As compared to the 8th Muharram procession, better cleanliness arrangements were made along the route though there were still one or two places where sewage issue persisted. The police asked the district administration to clear those spots before the Ashura procession on Tuesday.
A police spokesperson on Monday said that Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam monitored the main procession of 9th Muharram and he would also monitor the main Ashura procession on Tuesday.
According to a police report, overall 71,485 policemen, including 10,672 in Karachi, would be deployed for security on Ashura. As many as 1,342 police pickets had been set up in Karachi alone.
The police report said total 15,971 majalis, 6,288 mourning processions and 717 Tazia processions would be taken out in Sindh.
There are total 2,015 Imambargahs in Sindh. Of them, 342 are located in Karachi, 590 in Hyderabad, 138 in Mirpurkhas, 107 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 374 in Sukkur and 464 in Larkana.
It said 5,678 majalis, 668 mourning processions and 421 Tazia processions would be taken out in Karachi during Ashura.
Minister assures organisers of security
Sindh Information and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani on Monday said the provincial government had made foolproof security arrangements for majalis held on ninth day of Muharram and during Ashura on Tuesday (today).
“All the routes of the main procession are being constantly monitored with maximum security in place,” he said while speaking to organisers after attending a majlis at Nishtar Park.
Special assistants to Sindh chief minister Waqar Mehdi and Rashid Rabbani accompanied the minister.
The organisers, according to a spokesperson of the minister, expressed their satisfaction over the security plans and other arrangements offered by the provincial and city authorities.
Mr Ghani said hospitals and ambulance services were already on high alert while staffs of the local administration would be present on the scene to facilitate the mourners.
He said urgent directives had been issued to the managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board after he took notice of leaked sewers and asked the officers concerned to rectify the system on emergent grounds.
The minister said the Sindh government would ensure the mourners faced no problem whatsoever while moving on the route of the procession.
He said he himself and others Sindh government representatives were in constant touch with the organisers of processions and congregations in the city.
The minister requested organisers of Muharram gatherings to keep an eye on anti-social elements and report about them to the concerned authorities so that no untoward incident could occur during Muharram.
KWSB told to ensure water supply
In order to facilitate the participants of the Ashura processions, the Sindh government also directed the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to ensure regular water supply through its tankers to the sabeels established on the designated route.
In compliance to the directives of Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, uninterrupted supply of water, in accordance to the needs of each Imambargah, mosque and open sites where majalis were underway had also been ensured.
To further facilitate the participants of the main procession the provincial health department as well the Jinnah Sindh Medical University also deployed ambulances and deputed doctors and paramedics to respond to any emergency in the Ashura procession.
Meanwhile, the K-Electric has also ensured standby arrangements to avert any chance of power failure during Ashura.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2019