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Chehlum procession ends safely

KARACHI, Jan 3: Amid tight security, the main procession marking the Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain passed through its traditional route and terminated at Imambargah Hussainia Iranian on Thursday evening.

As part of security measures, all entry points along the route of the procession were sealed off and cellphone service in the city remained suspended since 8am till late night.

Only a couple of years ago, 34 mourners and blood donors were killed in twin blasts on the day of Chehlum in the city. On Thursday, the procession comprising Alams and Zuljanas was taken out from Nishtar Park following the main Majlis-i-Aza, which was addressed by Allama Talib Jauhari.

The mourners performing matam passed through the streets around Britto Road and Mehfil Shah-i-Khurasan and appeared on M.A. Jinnah Road. They kept performing matam till Zuhr when prayers were offered in front of Imambargah Ali Raza, where nearly two dozen people were killed in a bomb blast in 2004, on M.A. Jinnah Road.

Following the prayers, a protest demonstration was staged against what the participants in the procession described as continued killing of people belonging to the Shia community across the country.

The procession then following its traditional route passed through Empress Market, Regal and Tibet Centre before emerging on M.A. Jinnah Road. The procession culminated at the Imambargah Hussainia Iranian, Kharadar.

All those joining the procession were being frisked by scouts at barriers while the people who had earlier come to attend the Majlis at Nishtar Park underwent at least three layers of security checks, all managed by the scouts.

Shops situated along the route of the procession had been sealed by police since Wednesday night, while police and Rangers personnel remained deployed on rooftops for monitoring the procession. A team of the bomb disposal unit swept the route ahead of the procession. Besides, service of the Karachi police K-9 unit was also employed for the security of the procession.

At the culmination of the procession, buses had been arranged at Tower for the transportation of the mourners.