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Thousands attend Muharram procession in Islamabad

November 24, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Nov 24: The ninth Muharram procession here on Saturday not only mourned the Karbala tragedy but also expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and denounced Israel by displaying a large number of banners along its route.

The main procession of ninth Muharram in the capital concluded at the Imambarghah G-6/2 on Saturday night after passing through its route.

The traditional procession commenced from the same Imambarghah after Zohr prayers and thousands of mourners participated in it, despite heightened threats and warnings of terror attack this year.

The participants of the procession including women and children recited Nohas and carried alam, tazia and other symbolic things to highlight the Karbala tragedy.

However, contrary to the previous years none of the political parties including Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had established their sabeels or medical camps, whereas some groups while reciting noha also carried flags of Hezbollah of Lebanon.

Besides, a unit of bomb disposal squad, in their heavily protective gears, were moving ahead of the procession to counter terrorist move by defusing any device if found.

The authorities left no stone unturned in maintaining security arrangements, and apart from the regular police force, contingents of Rangers and Frontier Constabulary were posted along the procession route and on roof-tops and army helicopter maintained air surveillance.Personnel of special branch and the Intelligence Bureau not only moved in the procession but were also stationed at sensitive spots near the procession route. Besides, a large number of volunteers along with regular police frisked the participants entering the procession.

Meanwhile, an official of the Islamabad administration told Dawn that the number of participants in the procession was comparatively higher compared to the previous year.

In view of the cold weather the residents of G/6 and social organisations had established ‘Sabeels’ offering water, tea and even soups to the mourners.

Despite cold and terror warnings the procession reached its designated point a few hours later than the stipulated time mainly due to heavy participation.

“The procession was late mainly because people continued to join it even after evening after finishing niaz and offerings at home or in their local Imambarghah,” said a senior member of the G-6 Imambarghah committee, adding, “I am in azadari volunteer works for more than two decades and I have seen that whenever there is a serious threat of attack - more people including higher number of women and children come out to attend Muharram processions and Majalis.”

The main Ashura Muharram procession will be held on Sunday in Rawalpindi which will commence from Imambarghah Col.

Maqbool and terminate at Qadimi Imambarghah in Banni.