LAHORE/KARACHI/QUETTA   -  Like other parts of the world, the faithful are commemorating the Karbala sacrifice in Pakistan. Security has been augmented. In addition to policemen, paramilitary has been called in to cope with any untoward incident in sensitive areas.

CCTV cameras, walkthrough gates have been installed while lawmen have been deployed to guard mourning processions and sittings. The route of main procession would be sealed off for security and no vehicle would be allowed to park along the route. In major cities including Karachi, the district administrations have banned pillion-riding under the Section 144 during mourning days.

Talking to media in Quetta Thursday, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfiraz Bugti has said that extraordinary security steps have been taken this year.

“Five thousand lawmen will provide security to different areas of Quetta city while a letter has been sent to federal interior ministry for closure of mobile service,” he said.

The provincial government was taking steps to maintain law and order which could be gauged from the fact that Frontier Corps had seized heavy cache of arms and ammunitions in different operations during past three days.

“Fifteen vehicles of Quick Response Force are ready at control room,” the home minister said.

He said that for the supervision of processions, control rooms have been set up where teams of all departments would be present.

He said that arrangements have also been finalised for offering Friday prayers on all those mosques located on procession routes and after the prayers, the processions would appear on their traditional routes.

Responding to a question, he said that the FC in three successful operations recovered a huge number of arms and ammunitions where were intend to be used in subversive acts in Quetta and other parts of the country. “The recovery of explosives and weapons has frustrated the nefarious designs of terrorists,” he added.

Answering another query about firing by Iranian security forces in border area, he said that federal government is also monitoring the situation, however, the province government is also holding meetings with them and this issue would soon be solved.

Inspector General of Sindh Police Shahid Nadeem Baloch was told that over 25,000 security personnel will perform security duties in Karachi, on the occasion of processions and sittings.

Over 9000 security personnel will perform security duties at the main Ashura procession in Karachi on November 15. The Sindh Police chief was told this in a Karachi police report about security plan for processions and majalis of Muharram in Karachi, said a statement on Thursday.

He has directed the police to take all possible measures at the level of police stations with the coordination of stakeholders to ensure peace and maintain inter-faith harmony.

He also directed the police to provide lists of containing contact numbers of SHOs, DIGs and all control rooms to the organizers of mourning processions.

He further directed to take appropriate steps to set up temporary police reporting centers on the route of main procession, besides deployment of specially trained personnel in the sensitive areas.

According to report, 620 mourning processions and about 320 majalis will be held in the metropolis during Muharram.

The IG Sindh has directed to install walk through gates at entrances of Imambargahs and venues of majalis and said the security personnel should check identity of participants and perform body search with the coordination of organizers of processions and majalis.

Shahid Nadeem Baloch has also directed the police officials to take all necessary steps with the coordination of ulema as well as organizers of majalis and processions to ensure foolproof security arrangements on the occasion of Muharram.

On the special directions of Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khan Baig, all the main police headquarters including the Central Police Office, Lahore CCPO office, regional and district police offices remain opened on Wednesday despite the national holiday. Since the entire police were deployed on security duties, all the officers continued official working in their offices as per routine, a police spokesperson said.

The provincial police chief Khan Baig also visited the route of the main procession and reviewed security arrangements taken for the 9th and 10th of Muharram in Lahore.

Similarly, all the regional police officers (RPOs) and district police officers (DPOs) personally visited the routes of main processions in their respective regions and districts. They also reviewed the security arrangements for the Majalis in the regions and districts.

The police staff also performed their duties in the central control room, which has been established at the Central Police Office in Lahore to monitor the security situation minute-by-minute.

Punjab IGP Khan Baig has also directed the staff to ensure round-the-clock monitoring of the majalis and main processions in the Punjab. The provincial police chief is also in touch with the monitoring staff, RPOs and DPOs as well.

Deputy Commissioner Larkana Mirza Nasir Ali, Wing Commander, Shahbaz Rangers, Larkana Lt Col Muhammad Mukhtar Malik and SSP Larkana Khalid Mustafa Korai led a joint flag march of police and  Rangers, in a convoy of vehicles  that took a round of  Larkana city.

Officials of rangers, DSPs, SHOs, inspectors, and Emergency 15 jawans participated in the flag march.

The convoy started from the local Rangers Headquarters and passed  through all the main roads of the city and other areas.

Later, the Deputy Commissioner, along with Senior Superintendent of Police, other officials of rangers and police also inspected the routes of Muharram processions and sites of majalis.

Deputy Commissioner Mirza Nasir Ali said that all possible measures had been taken to ensure tight security of imambargahs and mourning processions for peaceful observance of Ashura.

He said that all departments concerned had been directed to make coordinated efforts and play their role for a maintaining peace.

The DC directed the officials of rangers and police to remain vigilant and keep an eye on the movement of suspicious people.

He expressed his satisfaction over security arrangements and asked the law enforcers not to allow anyone to cross the check points without a thorough body search.

He said that all the routes would be screened before the mourners’ procession pass through them.

He said the district administration was giving priority to ensure religious harmony and that people had a big responsibility to maintain patience in case of any provocative act, ensuring tolerance and peace.

The DC directed the officials of all Taluka Municipal Administrations and those of  NSUSC Larkana to ensure cleanliness on the routes to facilitate the participants.

The DC also directed TMO Larkana to monitor the cleanliness and sewerage conditions  and personally supervise the process to ensure that there was no stagnant water on the routes of the procession.

SSP Larkana Khalid Mustafa Korai told reporters that the role of the other departments and society was also vital to make security arrangement a success and in carrying out  relief operation in case of any incident.

He said that coordinated efforts were being made to meet the security challenges in Muharram.

He said that a comprehensive security plan had been made to meet any emergency situation in Muharram and strict vigilance was being maintained over anti-state and anti-social elements.

SSP Larkana said that he was satisfied with the security arrangements made by the police and rangers. “We are fully prepared to counter any attempt by the anti-social elements to harm peace.”

Larkana police and rangers have also set up camps and started checking of the vehicles and suspicious persons.

Medical Superintendent Chandka Medical College Hospital Larkana has alerted all the doctors and para-medical staff to remain on duty for attending to ‘azadars’, as well as for coping with any untoward incident.