RAWALPINDI: As part of security measures, all educational institutions and markets falling on the route of Imam Husain’s Chehlum procession would be closed on Saturday (today).
Besides, the district administration would deploy army, Rangers and Punjab police and established a control room to monitor the route through CCTV cameras.
Meanwhile, Taleemul Quran seminary in Raja Bazaar has declared a holiday on Saturday.
Talking to Dawn, Deputy Commissioner Tahir Farooq said Pakistan Army and Rangers would help the district administration and local police maintain law and order, adding that hospitals had been put on red alert to deal with any emergency.
However, he said that there was no direct threat for Saturday but arrangements had been made to provide a secure environment to the residents of the city on the occasion of Chehlum procession.
He said ban on the use of loudspeakers would be implemented.
Meanwhile, the police have chalked out a traffic plan and deployed more than 3,600 police and 236 wardens on Saturday.
As part of the traffic plan, diversions will be placed at 12 points while snipers will be deployed on rooftops, streets, roads along the routes of the processions. Other roads will be sealed with razor wire and barricades.
A traffic police spokesman said 12 processions would be taken out in the Rawalpindi district - five in rural areas and seven in the garrison city.
Traffic will be closed on Liaquat Road (from DAV College Chowk to Fawara Chowk), City-Saddar Road (from Mashriq Hotel to Fawara Chowk), Kashmiri Bazaar Road (from Novelty Cinema to Fawara Chowk), Ganjmandi Road (from Thana Ganjmandi turn to Fawara Chowk), Bagh Sardaran Road (Chungi No 4 to Bansa Nawala Chowk), Banni Chowk (Circular Road, Waris Khan Road and Kohati Bazaar), Iqbal Road (Committee Chowk to Fawara Chowk) Gordon College Road (from Akbar International to Naya Mohallah) 5th Road (from Rehmanabad turn Murree Road to College Chowk Saidpur Road), 4th Road (from Punjab Bank roundabout to Kali Tanki Chowk) and Asghar Mall Road (Asghar Mall turn Murree Road to Degree College Chowk).
During the procession, additional police will be deployed for the convenience of the citizens and to keep traffic flowing on alternative routes.
Traffic coming from City-Saddar Road to Fawara Chowk will be diverted to Mohanpura Road from Mashriq Hotel turn, traffic from Novelty Cinema turn will be diverted via alternative routes to Mohanpura and Fish Mandi Road while vehicles coming from Ganjmandi Road to Fawara Chowk will be diverted to Thana Ganjmandi turn.
Traffic from Pirwadhai to Fawara Chowk will be diverted from Chungi No 4 to Asghar Mall Road and from Circular Road turn, Waris Khan and Banni Chowk towards Kohati Bazaar and Murree Road.
Similarly, traffic coming from Committee Chowk to Fawara Chowk via Iqbal Road will be diverted via main Murree Road while traffic from China Market, College Road via Liaquat Road will be diverted to Liaquat Road.
Chehlum procession in Islamabad
The main procession of Hazrat Imam Husain’s Chehlum was held in the federal capital on Friday amid relaxed security measures as mobile phone service remained available on the site of the procession route. Chehlum of Imam Husain is observed on Safar 20, but the procession is held a day earlier in Islamabad as the main procession is held in Rawalpindi on Saturday.
Commenting on the relaxed security, a large number of participants and leaders of several religio-political groups said the benefits of the victory of the nation and armed forces against terrorists was visible on the ground.
Leaders of Tehreek-i-Nifaz-i-Fiqh Jafaria (TNFJ) and Shia Ulema Council (SUC) demanded the capital administration to gradually reduce security arrangements and allow locals to participate in the procession.
“We have seen the Shias and Sunnis wholeheartedly extending support to the flood victims,” Allama Wahidi said. Allama Wahidi demanded the capital administration to relax security measures around the procession as normalcy had largely returned to the country due to successful operations against the terrorists.
Similarly, some residents of G-6 also called for ending restrictions at the procession routes.
Meanwhile, Chehlum procession started around midday from G-6 Imambargah after Majalis-i-Aza and ended there after passing through its designated route.
A large number of faithful participated in the procession during which sacrifices tendered by Imam Husain and his companions in Karbala were highlighted. — Additional reporting by Kalbe Ali
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022