Mourners took out processions country-wide amid tight security arrangements on Thursday, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain on Muharram 10.
The main procession in Karachi was taken out from Nishtar Park off MA Jinnah Road after a Majlis and had reached Shalimar bus stand till the last update was filed at 10:45am.
According to a route plan issued on Tuesday, the procession will pass through Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto Road, Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khurasan, MA Jinnah Road (point a), Mansfield Street, Preedy Street, Tibet Chowk, MA Jinnah Road (point b), Boulton Market, Bombay Bazaar, Kharadar, Nawaz Mahabat Khanjee Road and then to Hussainian Iranian Imambargah.
A press release issued by Karachi Police Media Cell today (Thursday) said 6,368 police personnel, three companies of Rapid Response Force and 90 snipers of Special Security Unit had been deployed for the security of the main procession.
As many as 218 processions would be taken out in Karachi on Muharram 10, the press release said, adding that a total of 12,455 security personnel had been deployed across the city.
Moreover, more than 1,000 traffic police personnel had been deployed to guide commuters with regards to alternative routes, it said.
Security arrangements were also made for processions in other major cities, including Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad.
Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mahmood Dogar said 46 processions were being taken out in the city, adding that excellent arrangements had been made for their security.
He iterated that there was a ban on pillion riding on Ashura while cell phone services would also remain suspended on the routes the processions were taking.
More than 12,000 officials were deputed for the security of the processions while more than 2,600 traffic policemen were also performing their duties. Drone cameras were being used to monitor the processions along the route, Dogar said in a statement.
People were passing through a three-tier security system before being allowed to take part in majalis and processions, the CCPO said.
Giving further details about the arrangements, Dogar said the routes had been cleared using sniffer dogs while containers and barbed wires were also used to ensure security.
PM, president's message
On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi urged citizens in their separate messages to ensure compliance with coronavirus standard operating procedures, reported Radio Pakistan.
According to Radio Pakistan, the premier and president also said on the occasion that the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his companions was a symbol of determination and perseverance.
Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the nation to pay tribute to Imam Hussain by supporting the truth and thwarting every wicked tactic of the falsehood.
"Imam Hussain became a symbol of force against falsehood and strength for all movements fighting against tyranny in the times to come," Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.
The premier urged the nation "not to desist from sacrificing the life for the supremacy of the principles of truth and justice, for which Imam Hussain sacrificed his life".
Separately in a series of tweets, the Prime Minister's Office quoted him as saying that the "tragic and painful event" of Imam Hussain's martyrdom continued to sadden the Ummah even after centuries.
"Hundreds of years later, this wound, grief and event remains fresh," a tweet said.
The prime minister recalled that "when Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) refused to accept the oppression and tyranny of Yazid, he and his companions were martyred in the field of Karbala."
He added that Imam Hussain "embraced martyrdom but did not bow to oppression, and did not accept Yazid's rule. Imam Hussain set an example and proved that in the battle of truth and falsehood, one should always support the truth and should not hesitate to make sacrifices".
The prime minister was quoted in another tweet as saying that "We should never shy away from offering sacrifices for the sake of upholding the principles of Islam for which Imam Hussain offered martyrdom."
He said Imam Hussain's martyrdom gave the message that "even if falsehood is at its peak, it will be eradicated, and no matter how much the truth is suppressed, it persists".
"May Allah Almighty help us in renewing the spirit of Imam Hussain's martyrdom, sacrifice and righteousness so that we may be ready to give any sacrifice for our country and nation," he added.
Meanwhile, the president urged the nation to rise above hatred, malice and sectarianism in line with the teachings of Imam Hussain, the state broadcaster reported.
President Alvi said the nation should "prepare for all kinds of sacrifices by becoming a metaphor of determination and stability for our religion, nation and country as this path leads to success in the world and hereafter".
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also commemorated the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in a message on Twitter, saying: "The legacy of Imam Hussain Ibn e Ali (R.A) is one that embodies great bravery, determination and grace in the face of tyranny. May his life continue to serve as an example to us all to meet every challenge with the same depth of character, fortitude and courage."