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Pillion-riding banned in three Sindh cities

KARACHI, Nov 9: The Sindh government on Friday imposed a ban on pillion-riding in Karachi, Hyderabad and Khairpur from Saturday till the 11th of Muharram as part of the security measures being taken for the holy month beginning next week.

The decision was taken at an hours-long meeting, which was chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, held to review security arrangements for Muharram.

Sindh Inspector-General of Police Fayyaz Leghari, Rangers DG Major General Rizwan Akhtar, representatives of intelligence agencies and senior officials attended the meeting.

“It was decided to impose a ban on pillion-riding in Karachi, Hyderabad and Khairpur while Section 144 [under] CrPC [criminal procedure code] would be imposed throughout the Sindh province from tomorrow [Saturday] up to 11th Muharramul Haram,” said a CM House statement issued after the meeting.

“The chief minister directed the law-enforcement agencies to make a comprehensive security plan for Muharram and maximum security be provided to Imambargahs, mosques, processions and Majalis in the province. It was decided that the procedures and permissions would remain intact during Muharram, while no other permission, change or addition of any new procession or gathering would be entertained.”

The meeting decided that the law-enforcement agencies would check all vehicles at all the entry points of the Sindh border with Punjab and Balochistan. The chief minister called for enhanced information and intelligence sharing of criminals and terrorists between law-enforcers.

When asked about the ban on pillion-riding in Khairpur, a senior official told Dawn that the move was in line with an intelligence report that warned of a threat level in the district.

“We have witnessed serious issues in Hyderabad, which is considered comparatively stable in terms of ethnic and sectarian harmony, just ahead of Muharram. So there are warnings from the intelligence agencies, which led to taking such measures in different parts of Sindh,” said Sharfuddin Memon, adviser to the home ministry.

Earlier, a delegation of religious leaders met Sindh police chief Fayyaz Leghari at the central police office.

The meeting approved a ‘post-disaster management plan’ and designed a ‘strategy’ in this regard to deal with any untoward incident during Muharram.

A CPO statement said that the SSPs of districts and divisional SSPs of Karachi would remain in close contact with religious leaders and organisers of different Majalis and processions to coordinate security arrangements.

The meeting decided that the sale and distribution of provocative material and wall-chalking would remain prohibited. The senior police officials will monitor the Ashura procession at the CPO via surveillance cameras, said the statement.