ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and Polyclinic will remain on a high alert on Tuesday (today) to deal with any untoward situation during the Ashura processions in Rawalpindi.

The vacations of the staff at Pims have been cancelled and 40 beds kept reserved to meet any emergency situation.Pims media coordinator Dr Waseem Khawaja said specialists also had been instructed to ensure their availability.

“It is decided that 40 beds will remain vacant. The blood bank staff has been instructed to ensure availability of blood. At least 50 bags of O negative blood will be made available because in case of an emergency it becomes difficult to arrange O negative blood. Moreover, stock of medicine at the emergency department has been doubled,” he said.In reply to a question, Dr Khawaja said all staff had been instructed to ensure that their mobile phones remained switched on and in case of unavailability of mobile service, the staff should inform the hospital exchange about their landline contact numbers.

Similarly, the management of Polyclinic has also announced a high alert and asked its staff to remain available.

For the last some years, Muharram and Chehlum processions in Rawalpinid are being taken very seriously and special agreements are made to deal with any untoward situation.

In Nov 2013, curfew was imposed in Rawalpindi after eight people were killed and a market was burnt down in a clash between two groups during the Ashura procession in Raja Bazaar.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2019