KARACHI - At least 25,000 policemen will discharge security duties on the routes of 280 mourning processions, including the main procession and at the venues of over 780 majalis in the metropolis.

Following serious threats of terrorism, the provincial government has decided to shut off the mobile phone services on Muharram 9 and 10 in Karachi and Sukkur while in Hyderabad on 10 only. The Sindh Home Department’s spokesperson said that the decision has been taken following the potential threats of terrorism while the cellular services will remain suspended from 6am to 10pm on Monday and Tuesday. To thwart any untoward incident across the city, police, Rangers and military personnel will remain on high alert and all routes leading to the central processions of Muharramul Haram will be cordoned off. Talking to The Nation, the Ranger’s spokesman said that as many as 10,000 personnel were deployed across the province and some 7,500 Rangers personnel are performing security duty in Karachi particularly at two main processions.  

At least 18,557 policemen, in addition to police stations’ force, will discharge security duties on Muharram 9 on the routes of 280 mourning processions, including the main procession and at the venues of over 650 majalis and around 50 mahafil/waaz in the metropolis. This was informed to IG Police Sindh Ghulam Haider Jamali in a report by Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo on security arrangements in Karachi, said a handout issued here on Sunday. The AIG Karachi further said that all kinds of parking has been prohibited to ensure extra-ordinary security arrangements at over 400 Imambargahs, venues of majalis and routes of mourning processions. Besides the deployment of police personnel in uniform and civil dress and bomb disposal squads, the sweeping, scanning and clearing of the designated parking places set up at reasonable distance from procession routes and majalis venues, is also being ensured, he added.

Ghulam Qadir Thebo said that besides the placement of walkthrough gates at the entry and exit points of Nishtar Park, the starting point of the main procession, frisking of participants through metal detectors with the cooperation of organisers is also being ensured. The similar arrangements have been made at Husainian Iranian Imambargah, he added. The report said that besides the monitoring of security arrangements at the central command and control centre set up at the Central Police Office, video recording of main mourning procession and majalis is also being carried out.

The IGP directed that strict implementation of security arrangements should be ensured and indiscriminate action should be taken in case of any violation of Section 144. He called for further strengthening of mobile, motorcycle and foot patrolling and snap-checking at the police station level.  In Sukkur and Khairpur districts, the authorities imposed 2-day ban on pillion-riding on motorbikes and deployed over 9,000 police and Rangers personnel in the northern Sindh, with army deployment in sensitive areas to ensure peaceful observance of Muharram.

On the directives of Sukkur Commissioner Muhammad Abbas Baloch, the law enforcing agencies have been put on high alert to deal with any eventuality. Aerial surveillance of Muharram processions is being conducted to keep an eye on anti-state elements and terrorists. Officials said link-roads connecting Sukkur and Khairpur city have been sealed, with snipers deployed on roof tops along the procession routes.  Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have also been installed to closely monitor activities on the procession routes. A Command and Control Centre is overseeing the monitoring.  

Majalis and mourning processions are being held across Sukkur Division to highlight the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his family members in Karbala. The processions will be taken out on Monday as well on Ashura, falling on Tuesday, the day which marks the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS). In Larkana, Deputy Commissioner Ghanwer Ali Leghari directed police to put effective security measures on the routes of mourning processions, majalis and around residences of Ulema of all schools of thought.  He issued these directives while talking to the Ulema of various schools of thought, who called on him at DC office Sunday.

The Ulema expressed satisfaction over the security plan being taken by the police. They assured the DC of all-out cooperation in this regard.

The DC called for strict implementation of the Loudspeaker Act with the help of the volunteers of district and town-level peace committees.

A comprehensive and coordinated security plan has been made for the holy month of Muharram, under which additional force would be deployed on the routes of mourning processions and venues of majalis. The police officials and other concerned officers were present on the occasion.

The DC also directed all Taluka Municipal Officers (TMOs) of the district to ensure cleanliness on the routes of Muharram processions so as to facilitate the participants.