The Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, presided over by Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, announced on Monday that the Muharram moon had not been sighted in the country. Muharram will thus begin on September 12, while Ashura — Muharram 10 — will fall on September 21.
Keeping in view the need for extra security due to the spike in religious activity during the first 10 days of Muharram, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered that no high-level police officer in the province should go on leave until Muharram 12 (September 23).
Earlier, the Sindh government had also placed restrictions on the movement and travelling of 300 clerics for the next 60 days.
A notification in this regard was issued by the Sindh Home Department on Saturday bearing names of all the religious scholars.
The notification read that "keeping in view the prevailing law and order situation in Muharram it is imperative to restrict these firebrand speakers and scholars".
Similar measures have been taken in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, where surveillance is being increased around proscribed religious leaders and those considered a threat to religious or sectarian harmony in Muharram.
With the help of its intelligence wings, including the Special Branch, police are checking the presence of proscribed individuals living in Islamabad.
A police officer had told Dawn the concerned police stations have been directed to seek assurances from individuals of their presence during the month.
Moreover, security has also been increased around the seminaries in the twin cities where a total of 177 mourning processions and 909 majlises are expected to be held in the first 10 days of Muharram.
As a part of security arrangements for Muharram, the capital territory administration has also imposed a two-month ban on pillion riding.
The duration of the ban surprised many in the capital as usually such a restriction is imposed for a few days, particularly on 8, 9 and 10 Muharram.
According to APP, Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja said that foolproof security measures had been taken for the maintenance of law and order during Muharram.
“Extra force will be deployed at Imambargahs and majalis points,” he said while addressing a group of religious scholars in Lahore.
He added that concerned authorities have been directed to take all possible measures to maintain law and order during Muharram.