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Sindh, KPK announce off, Punjab shrugs off
 
 
 

KARACHI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR - Taking precautionary measures against terrorism, governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh declared holiday on Friday as the Punjab government banned pillion riding, while in Karachi motorcycles riding will be partially banned. Due to security concerns, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments on Thursday announced public holidays from Friday (8 Muharram) to Sunday (10 Muharram). According to the notification issued by the provincial governments, public schools, colleges, universities, public offices and banks would remain closed for three days in wake of terror wave before Ashura. The federal capital has already announced local holidays until Muharram 10. However, the Punjab government turned down the proposal of three holidays for Ashura in a meeting held at the Punjab Secretariat. The government decided that there was no need to declare Friday as holiday. The Sindh Home Ministry notified a partial ban on using motorbikes until 10 Muharram in Karachi. According to the notification, parking of bikes within the range of half kilometres from Imambargahs has also been prohibited. The provincial government has also declared more than 15 areas across the city of Karachi ‘sensitive’ for Ashura. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has imposed ban on pillion riding across the province on 9 and 10 Muharram to ensure security for mourning processions. The ban on pillion riding was imposed after it was strongly suggested by the police.  Talking to reporters on Thursday, Punjab Police Inspector General Muhammad Habibur Rehman said that the police would consult district administrations to get cellular phone service suspended, if needed. The IG visited the routes of the main Muharram procession in Lahore to review the security arrangements on Thursday. At Karbala Gamay Shah, Lahore CCPO Muhammad Aslam Tareen and DIG Muhammad Tahir Rai briefed the provincial police chief about the security and deployment of police force on the routes of the main procession. To a question, the IG told reporters that there were strong security threats in Lahore.He said that the terror suspects of two gangs captured from Lahore and Sargodha had confessed that they had been planning to carry out massive terror attacks in Lahore. To another question, the IGP said that the units of Pakistan Army and Punjab Rangers will carry out flag-march in Lahore on Friday while aerial monitoring of processions in the most sensitive districts would also be ensured. “Police and Rangers reserves would also remain on stand-by and could be called in if required.” The IG said that 15,000 policemen would be deployed on the routes of the procession in Lahore. Sargodha police arrested five suspects from a flat located in front of the main Imambargah of the city. Police said they got a tip that five suspicious men were living in a rented flat in front of the Imambargah. Police raided the flat and captured the men. The police said that the men were planning terrorist attacks for 9 and 10 Muharram. The arrested men are said to be the natives of Bajaur. In Karachi, the fear of another terror attack is looming over the mega city where bomb disposal squads (BDS) defused a bomb near an Imambargah in Qasba Colony.The bomb was planted at an under construction Rangers’ post. Police said that a labourer found a mobile phone which was connected with some wires and concealed in a concrete block. The labourer informed the police. The BDS managed to defuse the bomb which, according to an official, was connected with a timer. The official said that 3kg of explosive substance was used in the bomb. The BDS defused another planted bomb near the imambaragah in Ittehad Town. Police officials said that the bomb weighed around six kilogrammes. They said that it was concealed in a ghee canister and the participants of the majalis in the Imambargah were the possible target of the terrorists. Separately, panic spread in surrounding areas of the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Clifton after a bomb hoax. Law informant agencies barred people from entering the shrine while BDS searched the shrine compound but found nothing. However, the officials declined any bomb hoax, saying that the search was for the safety of thousands of devotees.In Peshawar, two bombs were found planted near Gulbahar-Nishtarabad flyover in Gulbahar area. According to security sources, the bombs were planted to target police personnel.BDS officials said that one of the bombs was defused whereas the other was detonated in a controlled explosion, adding that both the bombs weighed three kilograms each.Separately, Rangers in Karachi arrested five men and recovered explosive material from their possession.According to Rangers officials, the suspects were nabbed during a ‘targeted operation’ in Karachi’s Malir and Orangi Town areas.The official said that weapons and explosives were recovered from the arrested men, adding that the men were shifted to undisclosed place for interrogation. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh police arrested three saboteurs of a banned outfit in an overnight operation in the metropolis.According to police sources, a large cache of arms and ammunition including gunpowder, Kalashnikovs and bullets were seized.Sources said the terrorists were planning to carry out act of terrorism in the city during Muharram.

 
 
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