LAHORE - Like around the world, the faithful are commemorating the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) across the country.

At the onset of Muharram, devotees started descending on allocated worship places to perform rituals and pay tribute to the Karbala martyrs. Speakers shed light on the event and called for joint efforts for wellbeing of humanity.

Paying tribute to the martyrs, leaders laid stress on following in the footsteps of Imam Hussain and his companions.

In a message from Islamabad, President Dr Arif Alvi said: “The supreme sacrifices given by the family and companions were a triumph for humanity and the Islamic principles. The event had the most significant place in the Islamic history as Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the grandson of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), along with his family and companions embraced martyrdom in the Karbala.”

Paying tribute to martyrs, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the great battle between the good and evil at Karbala reminded the Muslims of upholding the tradition of sacrifice on the principles of Islam.

“This event revived the unprecedented and supreme sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), the grandson of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

“Such spirit of sacrifice had also strengthened Muslims’ faith and beliefs and pursuit of the qualities based upon truthfulness and principles. Sacrificing lives of near and dear ones for Islam will entail real success.

“The event had been the fountain head of supreme sacrifices and such an unparallel precedent could not be matched in the human history.

“The life of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) gave a message that all the ordeals in the path of righteousness should be tolerated.

PM Khan also paid tribute to the sacrifices of Kashmiris struggling for their right to self-determination. He said: “They are following in the footsteps of Karbala martyrs and made the Occupied Kashmir another great example of battle between the good and evil.”

The prime minister appealed to the nation to observe day with religious respect and devotion and prayed for the progress and prosperity of the country. In Lahore, the main procession came out of Nisar Haveli in Mochi Gate. After passing through Mohalla Chehl Bibian, Imambargah Syed Wajid Ali Shah, Chowk Nawab Sahib, Koocha Qazi Khana, Imambargah Maulvi Feroz Ali, Koocha Miskeenan, Mohalla Pir Gillanian, Imambargah Syed Rajab Ali Shah, Chauhatta Mufti Baqir, Chowk Kotwali, Kashmiri Bazaar, Sonehri Masjid, Dabbi Bazaar, Gumti Bazaar (Rang Mahal Chowk), Said Mittha Bazaar, Tehsil Bazaar, Bazaar Hakimaan, Ucchi Masjid, Bhaati Chowk Areas, the Shia pilgrims would reach Karbala Gamey Shah near Data Darbar today where processions from other parts would be joining them. Charity food camps were set up along the rally route while volunteers and emergency service staff were escorting the mourners.

Backed by the army troops, the police posted thousands to guard processions and sittings. As a security step, pillion-riding was banned in big cities while mobile phone service was partially suspended in sensitive areas. Patrol was enhanced while commandoes held positions at the most sensitive places.

According to a police spokesman, more than 160,000 officials and volunteers are on duty to escort mourners. Authorities used hundreds of CCTV cameras and drones to monitor processions in addition to aerial surveillance with the help of helicopters. Mobile phones and internet services were partially suspended in 11 districts of the province, including Lahore, Gujranwala, Jhang, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Jhelum.

The main procession’s route was sealed with barbed wires, containers and barricades and the participants were allowed entry after checking at four different points. The police were using metal detectors, walkthrough gates and CCTV cameras.

Processions were also taken out in Islampura, Thokar Niaz Baig, Model Town, Mughalpura, Shahdara, Iqbal Town and Township.

Similar events were staged in other cities including Quetta, Karachi, Multan, DGK, DIK and Mirpur. In Peshawar, a total of 12,000 policemen were guarding the main procession emerged from Imambargah Hussainia Hall while aerial surveillance would be conducted in sensitive districts. Emergency has been declared hospitals to deal with any untoward incident.