Muharram 9 processions taken out across country amid tight security

Published July 28, 2023
A large number of mourners participate in the main Muharram 9 procession in Lahore. — APP
A large number of mourners participate in the main Muharram 9 procession in Lahore. — APP
Muslims during a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Karachi on July 28, 2023. — AFP
Muslims during a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Karachi on July 28, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel patrol a street during a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Peshawar on July 28. — AFP
Security personnel patrol a street during a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Peshawar on July 28. — AFP
A man waves a flag during a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Peshawar on July 28. — AFP
A man waves a flag during a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Peshawar on July 28. — AFP
Shia Muslims take part in a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Peshawar on July 28. — AFP
Shia Muslims take part in a procession on the ninth day of Ashura in the Islamic month of Muharram in Peshawar on July 28. — AFP
A mourning procession being taken out in Lahore to mark 9th Muharram on July 28. — Photo provided by Nauman Liaquat
A mourning procession being taken out in Lahore to mark 9th Muharram on July 28. — Photo provided by Nauman Liaquat
Lahore DIG (Operations) assesses the security situation in the city on the occasion of Muharram 9 on July 28. — Photo provided by Wasim Riaz
Lahore DIG (Operations) assesses the security situation in the city on the occasion of Muharram 9 on July 28. — Photo provided by Wasim Riaz

Muharram 9 mourning processions were taken countrywide amid strict security on Friday, with mobile phone services suspended in some areas under a comprehensive plan devised by law enforcement agencies to prevent any untoward incident.

A day ago, the Karachi police issued a security and traffic management plan for processions on the 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram, under which 4,698 police personnel would be deployed across the city.

Punjab has sought the deployment of army and Rangers troops for the security of Muharram processions across the province.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also imposed Section 144 in all divisions except Malakand, banning the display and brandishing of arms, pillion riding, use of tinted glass in vehicles and standing of people on rooftops. The ban will remain in place throughout Muharram.

Lahore

According to a Dawn.com respondent, a large procession of mourners departed from Pando Street Azakhana Imambargah in Lahore today.

Lahore Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Ali Nasir Rizvi said the procession was being provided with “foolproof security” and was expected to reach its destination at 12am tonight.

He added that 4,700 police officers were performing their duties on Pando Street, adding that policemen with snipers had been positioned on the roofs of various buildings in the area.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police said provincial Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar and Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman went to Rawalpindi, where they visited various Imambargahs — including the Colonel Maqbool Hussain and Liaquat Bagh Imambargahs — and the procession routes.

The police further said that control rooms have been set up in all districts of Punjab, and all activities are being continuously monitored with the help of CCTV cameras.

Separately, Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana said in a statement that the city police had completed the security arrangements for Muharram 9 and 10.

The CCPO stated that all processions would be monitored continuously via CCTV cameras while the ban on pillion-riding would also be ensured.

CCPO Kamyana further said that mobile services would be suspended for specific periods on the procession routes.

The statement said all processions and majlis would be provided with “fool-proof security”.

It added that six superintendents of police, 83 station house officers, 216 upper subordinates, women police officials and more than 11,000 police constables would be performing their duties on the occasion.

The CCPO further said that the Dolphin Squad and Police Response Unit (PRU) teams would be patrolling the areas near the procession routes at all times, and in case of rain, the routes would be kept open with the help of the city administration.

Punjab police asked citizens to remain vigilant and look out for “any unattended bag, motorcycle, car and any individual with suspicious actions”.

In a statement issued last night, IG Anwar directed police to ensure “foolproof security” today and tomorrow.

Noting that there was a possibility that the “enemies of Pakistan and Islam may try to target citizens and law enforcement agencies on this important day”, the IG asserted it was the police’s responsibility to “maintain peace and ensure the best service delivery”.

Karachi

In Karachi, the main mourning procession departed from Nishtar Park at 12pm after the main majlis concluded, statements from the Soldier Bazaar police station said. It added that Allama Shehanshah Hussain Naqvi addressed the gathering.

The traffic police said that MA Jinnah Road, heading towards Numaish Chowrangi, was blocked for traffic at 8:12am due to a mourning procession.

Referring to a press release it had issued earlier, the police said the traffic was being diverted to the alternative routes mentioned therein.

The thoroughfare was opened for traffic around 8pm as the procession culminated at Hussainia Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar.

Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah reviewed the security arrangements of the main procession, a statement from his office said.

It added that the minister attended a procession organised by Seven Day Adventist Hospital and was accompanied by his aide Waqar Mehdi, Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab, provincial minister Saeed Ghani, Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon, IG Memon and South DIG Irfan Baloch.

The statement further said that CM Shah directed the Sindh IG to not spare any effort for the security arrangements and sought details about the processions planned for tomorrow.

On the occasion, IG Memon apprised the minister that the main procession would pass through 20 locations and eight parking points had been allocated for the participants.

When asked about “security passes” being distributed for the processions, the IG told Shah that they were being given “only to home-owners, [organisers of] sabeels and niyaaz, and scouts”.

The statement quoted IG Memon as saying that security passes were being issued to the DIG (traffic) upon the submission of documents, and a similar procedure was in place for security officials, ambulances and media persons.

He further said that 4,698 police constables were positioned across the city for security purposes while CM Shah directed that the administration and police must take the organisers into confidence regarding the measures they take.

 Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah speaks to the media in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV
Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah speaks to the media in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV

Talking to the media in Karachi, he said, “You might have heard as well that we have received a few threats — of a generalised kind — so we are reviewing our security [arrangements] while considering them.”

However, he clarified that there were “no specific threats” but measures were taken considering the country’s situation as it was the government’s duty to do so.

When asked further about the security situation, Shah noted that it was “not the first time” that mobile phone services have been suspended, and termed the move a part of “bare minimum precautions that we need to take”.

The chief minister went on to say that while he was not sure of his plans for tomorrow (Muharram 10), he “might visit Hyderabad or Sukkur”.

Earlier today, the Sindh police also shared a video detailing the road blockages as part of the security measures along with the alternative routes.

Quetta

In the morning, heightened security was also seen in Quetta, where the mourning procession set out from McConaghey Road and culminated at Nasirul Aza Imambargah.

Strict security arrangements and precautions taken on the day included road blockages at various points for routine traffic and the suspension of mobile phone services.

Police and Frontier Constabulary teams were deployed across the city while aerial monitoring was also being carried out.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Mourning processions peacefully concluded in all districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Peshawar, amid tight security arrangements by police and law enforcement agencies.

In Peshawar, the main procession commenced in the morning from Imambargah Hussainia Hall on the main Saddar Road and later was joined by many other processions in parts of the provincial capital.

The mourners passed through the prescribed routes comprising Saddar Road, Kalabari and Fawwara Chowk where the organisers arranged water, milk and drinks for the participants.

Religious scholars delivered special sermons on the importance of 9th Muharram.

After offering afternoon prayer, the procession culminated back at the Imambargah Hussainia Hall at Peshawar Cantonment.

The Rescue 1122 service set up a medical camp to provide timely treatment to the mourners in case of any emergency.

The participants were allowed after the body search by the police, law enforcers and volunteers.

Walkthrough gates were installed for screening of participants, and surveillance of processions was carried out through video-recording and CCTV cameras fixed for this purpose.

Besides the deployment of 600 policemen and sniper shooters, the personnel of the bomb disposal unit remained in a high alert position and carried out security checks of the routes through equipment.

The entire city was virtually sealed and no vehicle was allowed to enter the area designated for mourning processions.

Many other processions of 9th Muharram were taken out from several Imambargahs, including Bibi Zekri, and concluded at the originating points peacefully.

The police blocked all the entry points to the city and Saddar Raod to facilitate the mourners and avert any untoward incident.

In Haripur, which had been declared the most sensitive district for Muharram, the mourning processions concluded peacefully at the designated points.

The main procession was taken out from Imambargah Imamia Sajjadia Mohallah Motian and ended at Imambargah Qadeemia Mohalla Chowki police. The mourners from different parts of the district participated in the procession.

The route was cordoned off by the personnel of police and elite force besides law enforcers where participants passed through special security mechanisms.

In Kohat, the processions concluded peacefully where clerics paid rich tributes to the sacrifices of the martyrs of Karbala and urged Muslims to follow their footprints.

In Lakki Marwat, the procession ended peacefully in Mohallah Sayyedan. It was taken out from Imambargah Kashana Bukhari that culminated at the starting point after passing through the traditional route.

In Parachinar of Kurram district, the main procession was taken out from Central Imambargah and passed through prescribed routes before culminating at the said place.

Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Sajid Hussain Turi visited the Crisis Management and Control Room at Parachinar DC Office where he was briefed about the security plan.

The minister participated in the procession along with the leaders of a peace committee and also met the leaders of Central Imambargah.

In Mansehra, DI Khan, Nowshera and other districts, the processions peacefully concluded after passing through their prescribed routes.

Earlier, the Peshawar CCPO’s Twitter account quoted Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Haroonul Rashid as saying that “three-layered security arrangements” were made in the city’s cantonment area.

He added that along with “rooftop gunpoints” on all routes, mourning processions were being monitored through drone cameras, CCTV and surveillance camera system mobiles.

Separately, the KP police said it “took action against 9,010 people” for violating the bans imposed under Section 144 in the province.

Police further said that it had taken action against dozens of people for having unregistered vehicles, using fancy number plates, having tinted [car] window glasses and pillion riding“.

The statement added that hundreds of motorcycles were also taken into custody at a terminal.


Additional input from APP.

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