A policeman guards an imambargah on Circular Road, Peshawar, on Tuesday. — White Star
A policeman guards an imambargah on Circular Road, Peshawar, on Tuesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR/DERA ISMAIL KHAN: The Peshawar police have asked the home department to suspend mobile phone service in the provincial capital for Muharram 9 and 10.

A city police letter regarding the jamming of mobile service said the quarters concerned may be approached for the jamming of mobile services in the provincial capital.

Though a police official confirmed the taking up of the issue with the home department, the police were tight-lipped about whether the suspension of mobile phone service would be targetted or cover the entire city.

Sources also told Dawn that the Pakistan Army’s deployment in several cities of the province, including provincial capital, for Muharram security had been completed after the federal government’s approval.

Army’s deployment in several cities for Muharram security completed

An interior ministry letter said the troops had been deployed under Section 245 of the Constitution during Muharram 2021 to act in aid to civil power in light of a request by the provincial government.

The breakdown of the troops’ deployment showed that six companies had been deployed in Kurram tribal district, four in Kohat, two in Lakki Marwat, two in Bannu and 12 in Dera Ismail Khan.

Besides, four companies of the army have been deployed in the provincial capital, two in Nowshera district and one each in Tank and Mardan districts.

The letter said the additional army troops with the date of deployment might also be worked out by the home department and military authorities if the need arose.

Meanwhile, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar also imposed Section 144 in the provincial capital for from Muharram 1 to Muharram 13.

A notification issued here said under the powers conferred under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar had banned the writing and distribution of objectionable pamphlets and posters, chalking on the walls of mosques and imambargahs, and pillion riding.

Also, a ban has been slapped on the the carrying and display of arms, entry of Afghan refugees to the city, hate speeches, cassettes and compact discs containing hate speeches, operation of hotels and inns in the limits of city division, dumping of debris and other types of waste along procession routes and imambargahs and stay of strangers in hotels and inns located along procession routes.

The restrictions will remain in place from Muharram 1 to Muharram 13.

Also in the day, a meeting chaired by SSP (operations) Yasir Afridi discussed security arrangement for Muharram.

Mr Afridi directed the police officials to take all possible steps for ensuring peace during the period and ordered increased patrolling in the city and the police’s close coordination with the local elders.

He also directed them to scan procession routes for security reasons.

In a statement issued here, the city traffic police said in connection with Muharram, they had fined more than 600 people for violating Section 144.

They said fines were imposed for using tinted glass and pillion riding despite the imposition of Section 144, while hundreds of bikes had been impounded for violating the ban on pillion riding.

Earlier, the city police announced the deployment of around 10,000 personnel in the provincial capital to ensure peace during Muharram.

Meanwhile, the Dera Ismail Khan police issued a security plan for Muharram as the district administration imposed Section 144 banning pillion riding from Muharram 1 to Muharram 8 and riding of motorcycles on Muharram 9 and 10.

Under the supervision of district police officer retired Captain Najamul Hasnain Liaquat, a security plan has been devised for Muharram gatherings and mourning processions in the district.

Also, the police will crack down on the vehicles with tinted windows and violators of those orders under Section 144.

Spokesman for the police Mohammad Imtiaz said the registered and unregistered imambargahs in the district totalled 69.

He said 642 majalis would be held and 194 processions would be taken out on scheduled routes during Muharram.

The spokesman said 7,540 officials of the police, Frontier Reserve Police, Elite Police, Special Branch, Bomb Disposal Squad, Canine Unit, Control Unit and reserve personnel would also perform security duties during Muharram.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2021

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