LAHORE  - Like other parts of the world, the Muslims are observing Youm-e-Ashur (Muharram 10) today (Friday) with traditional religious dedication and commitment to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions amid heightened security. 

In the provincial capital, the 9th Muharram processions were taken out on Thursday from various parts of the city including Islampura, Shadman, Green Town, Mughalpura, Ferozepur and Zafar Colony. The processions of Shabih-e-Zuljinnah, Alam (flag) and Tazia marched through usual routes and culminated at their destination peacefully.

Late on Thursday night, the main procession of Ashura was taken out from Nisar Haveli inside Mochi Gate amid tight security arrangements. The procession will continue its journey through its traditional route and will culminate at Karbala Gamay Shah where Majlis-e-Sham-e-Ghariban will be held in the evening to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) in which noted zakerin will highlight the importance of the sacrifice of grand son of Prophet (PBUH) and his companions. The central procession trekked its 168-year-old traditional route from Mohalla Chehal Bibian to Karbala Gamay Shah via Imambargah Syed Wajid Ali Shah, Mubarik Haveli, Chowk Nawab Sahib, Koocha Qazi Khana, Imambargah Maulvi Feroze Ali, Koocha Miskeenan, Mohalla Pir Gillanian, Imambargah Syed Rajjab Ali Shah, Chohetta Mufti Baqir, Chowk Kotwali, Kashmiri Bazaar, Sonehri Masjid, Dabbi Bazaar, Gumti Bazaar, Said Mittha Bazaar, Tehsil Bazaar, Bazaar Hakimaan, Ucchi Masjid and Bhati Chowk.

Before the start of the main procession from Nisar Haveli, a Majlis-e-Aza was held in which hardships faced by the family of Prophet (PBUH) were narrated by renowned Zakir Shajar Hussain Shajar. A large number of mourners, who later joined the procession, were beating their chests and reciting nohas.

Another big procession was taken out from Islampura while other smaller processions from Mughalpura, Dharampura, Shalimar, Shadman, Chungi Amarsadhu, Township, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Jafferiya Colony, Zafar Colony, Wasanpura, Green Town, Ferozepur Road and other parts of Lahore marched through their traditional routes.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners, including women and children, were participating in the processions. In some processions there were groups of mourners who walked bare-footed on the burning coals. The mourners were beating their bare backs with chained-knives.

The Sabeels (free stalls of milk and other drinks) have been set up on the routes of the procession to facilitate the participants of the processions. City hospitals have been kept on alert where doctors and paramedics will remain on duty round the clock. Rescue 1122, Edhi and Health Department ambulances are standby to deal with any emergency.

A number of banners calling for Shia-Sunni unity and peace were placed by different city governments, political and social workers. Walk-though gates and scanners have been placed at the entrances of Imambargahs and processions also.

The city government has managed extra lights along the route to illuminate the area to facilitate the security personnel in maintaining law and order, especially at nighte. All the concerned officials kept inspecting the situation at different points of the route to ensure peace. The government has also banned pillion riding and blocked the cellular services. Sharp shooters have been placed on roof tops along the traditional route from Nisar Haveli to Karbala Gamay Shah. The police have deployed more than 17,000 personnel to avoid any terror bid. All markets and businesses were closed on the occasion of Ashura while press issued special supplements and electronic media was airing special programs to mark the day.