Youm-i-Ashura observed nationwide amid tight security

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Rangers officials are seen in front of a Muharram procession in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Rangers
Rangers officials are seen in front of a Muharram procession in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Rangers
Scouts are seen in front of a Muharram procession in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Rangers
Scouts are seen in front of a Muharram procession in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Rangers

Youm-i-Ashura was observed nationwide on Sunday to pay homage to Imam Hussain and other martyrs of Karbala amid strict security arrangements to protect mourners from any untoward incident.

Processions were carried out in various cities as thousands of security personnel protected the mourners while cell phone services in areas across the country also remained suspended.

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that there were three important messages to take away from Imam Hussain and the martyrs of Karbala.

"One, immortality is earned by those who give the supreme sacrifice of their lives to stand against tyranny & injustice. It is not earned simply by being rich, powerful or educated.

"Two, throughout history many great Muslims have been inspired by Karbala & sacrificed their lives to stand against oppression, colonial rule, injustice.

"Three, today the struggle continues against oppression of occupation & injustice in occupied Kashmir."

The premier added that the Kashmiris, who were fighting against the worst form of military oppression and tyranny, should be "inspired" by Karbala to remain steadfast in their courage.

"Their struggle against tyranny & injustice will succeed as the martyrs of Karbala showed us."

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took to Twitter to share the lessons that could be learnt from Iman Hussain's legacy.

"Let us draw strength from the legacy of Imam Hussain Ibn e Ali (R.A), the embodiment of bravery and determination in the face of oppression and tyranny. May we learn to meet every challenge ahead with the same fortitude and courage."

PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said "mankind will remain indebted to Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S.) for his supreme sacrifice in the path of truth and justice."

"His example of patience and trust in Allah in the face of extreme brutality & oppression has been a source of inspiration to the oppressed people around the world!" he added.

Karachi

The main procession in the city was taken out from Nishtar Park after a Majlis, which was led by Allama Shahenshah Hussain Naqvi, with five to six thousand mourners, according to police officials.

The procession reached Tibet Centre around 1pm where afternoon prayers were offered, led by Maulana Ali Afzaal. After the prayers, the procession moved through Numaish Chowrangi, Sea Breeze, Empress Market, Regal Chowk and Bolton Market, ending at Imambargah Hussainian Iranian.

Map of the route the procession took. — Photo Courtesy: Karachi Police
Map of the route the procession took. — Photo Courtesy: Karachi Police

A spokesperson for Karachi Police said 6,368 policemen and three companies of the Rapid Response Unit were deployed for the security of the processions. A further 90 snipers were also present along the route of the main procession.

A total of 12,455 policemen were deputed for the security of 513 Majalis and 281 processions in the city, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said 1,095 officials of the Traffic Police were deployed to ensure smooth flow of traffic along the route.

Additionally, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said police coordinated with Shia Scout organisations for security arrangements.

Peshawar

A total of 12 processions were taken out in Peshawar, according to police officials. Strict security arrangements were made while cell phone services were completely suspended in the city.

At least 10,600 policemen and 1,400 Frontier Corps officials were deployed for security while the situation was also being monitored from the police command and control room. The areas through which the processions passed were sealed and no unrelated person was allowed to enter, police said, adding that the roads along the route were also washed in view of the pandemic.

Quetta

The main procession in Balochistan's capital emerged from Shuhada Chowk on Alamdar Road. It was led by Balochistan Shia Conference President Syed Dawood Agha. The procession passed through its traditional routes and reached Meezan Chowk, where afternoon prayers were offered.

At least 10,000 security officials were deployed for protection of the mourners. Mobile phone services in the city remained suspended until 12am, according to police.

Additional Inspector General of Police (IG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema said searching and sweeping of processions' routes had been completed while security officials and snipers remained posted.

He further said three battalions of the Pakistan Army were on standby in case of any untoward incident and that two helicopters were being used to keep an eye on the situation from the air. Control rooms were established to monitor the situation, he said.