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Muharram in Peshawar: Business to shut down for 4 days

November 15, 2012

PESHAWAR, Nov 14: Local traders have assured police that they will close their businesses between Muharram 7 and 10 and fully cooperate will them in maintenance of peace in the city during the entire month.

An official of the city police told Dawn on Wednesday that the organisers of Muharram processions had assured police of assigning different duties to volunteers at the city’s all entry points and conducting bodysearch of the participants.

He said police had held several meetings with Shia ulema, who assured them of full cooperation in protecting processions in their respective areas.

He said wearing shawl and heavy jackets by participants of processions had been banned during Muharram, while movement of Afghan nationals would be strictly banned in city areas.

He said police had close liaison with district administration to clear the routes, install lights and remove the encroachments.

On Wednesday, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry leaders and police discussed the security situation.

Police informed businessmen about the steps taken for protection of the people during Muharram.

SSP (Operations) Peshawar Imran Shahid, District Coordination Officer, Peshawar Javaid Khan Marwat visited the Chamber House to meet KPCCI President Dr Mohammad Yousaf Sarwar.

They sought his support for successful security arrangements.

KPCCI Senior Vice President Malik Iftikhar Ahmed Awan, Vice President Mohammad Anees Ashraf, executive members Sadar Gul, Faiz Rasool, other senior members Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, Haji Mohammad Afzal, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Nadeem Rauf and Abidullah Khan were also present on the occasion.

Dr Yousaf said police and the district administration should protect interests of the business community and the chamber would fully cooperate.

The participants also discussed security arrangements and agreed to make combined efforts for foiling sabotage.

Meetings were also held at Shah Qabool, Hasht Nagri, Yakatoot police stations where local elders and traders discussed the matter.

ASP Gulbahar Khalid Mehmood Hamdani while presiding over a meeting assured the caretakers of imambargahs of provision of full security to their places by deployment of security personnel. On the occasion, the imambargah caretakers assured police that women and children would not be part of the processions of 9th Muharram and the volunteers would strictly check participants at entry points.

Police said they would install walkthrough gates and closed-circuit cameras at different points of the procession routes.

“We have established three command posts at different sensitive with one Supreme Command Post at Kohati area from where central procession will pass,” said an official of Khan Raziq police station. He said the entire Peshawar city was sensitive but the areas falling in limits of Yakatoot police station, Kotwali, Faqirabad, Khan Raziq, Shah Qabool, Hasthnagri and Gulbahar were the most sensitive.

The official said the personnel of paramilitary forces would remain alert to give backup support to police mainly at Chowk Shahbaz, Qissa Khwani, Kohati Chowk, Soekarno Chowk, Abresham Gran, Waliabad, Munda Beri and Hasthnagri areas.

He said besides the district police, the reserved forces from different districts would also be called to Peshawar for Muharram days. He, however, said the exact number of security personnel had yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Assistant Coordination Officer, Peshawar Habibullah Arif accompanied by the local government officials visited different imambargahs in the city and checked streetlights, water supply system and cleanliness.

He directed the in charge of the Supreme Command Post to ensure round-the-clock presence of security personnel at the post and close liaison with the relevant officers. Despite repeated attempts, Capital City Police Officer Imtiaz Altaf could not be contacted for comments on the Muharram security plan.