LAHORE - Police security has been heightened across the provincial metropolis to maintain peace on Youm-e-Ali (RA) to be marked today. Amid growing security threats, the police have also launched snap-checking at all the entry and exit points of the Punjab capital.

Several operations rooms are activated to monitor the security situation with the help of modern technology including CCTV cameras. Thousands of police will be deployed on the route of the main mourning procession.

Last week, police and other agencies launched massive security sweep to hunt down suspected elements. Hundreds of police are taking part in the combing operations underway in the walled city and other sensitive areas of the metropolis. Officers were seen using biometric machines and android mobile phones to verify the particulars of individuals.

Police sources revealed that there are “serious security threats” this year with regard to Youm-e-Ali in Lahore where terrorists had targeted the mourning procession in the past. At least 37 persons had died and more than 200 others wounded in the suicide blast near Urdu Bazaar as the main mourning procession was about to culminate at Karbala Gamay Shah in 2010.

On the orders of capital city police officer Muhammad Amin Wains, police mounted one of the biggest security operations in the metropolis with the start of the holy month.

A police spokesperson said at least 7,000 police including elite commandoes and plainclothesmen would be deployed in the walled city to protect mourners.

Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf said aerial surveillance of the main procession would also be ensured. The officer visited the route of the central procession and expressed his satisfaction over the security arrangements.

The central procession of Youm-e-Ali (RA) will be taken out from Imambargah Mubarak Haveli, inside Akbari Mandi, on 21st of Ramazan on Saturday (today). Earlier, a Majlis-e-Aza in connection with Shahadat Hazrat Ali (RA) will be held and speakers will highlight various aspects of the life of Hazrat Ali (RA).

Lahore’s police chief Muhammad Amin Wains last week approved a comprehensive security plan for Youm-e-Ali and ordered the police to continue search operations on a daily basis and all over the city.

Police officer Haider Ashraf said that the mourners would be provided three-layer security. The police would search each participant thoroughly at three different points before allowing him entry towards the main venue. Dozens of policewomen will also be deployed to check female participants.

Similarly, the police would block all roads leading towards the main procession by putting containers and barriers. All police response units and Dolphins Squads would patrol around the route of the central procession to protect the mourners.

The central operations room has been activated at the office of DIG (Operations) to monitor the security situation round the clock. The police will monitor the procession by using hundreds of CCTV cameras installed on the route of the central procession. According to an official, parking arrangements have been made at Nasser Bagh for participants of the procession.

Police on Friday night intensified armed patrolling across the Walled city. A good number of snippers or sharp-shooters were being deployed on top of the high-rise buildings alongside the procession route to check the movement of suspected elements.

The central procession will reach Kashmiri Bazaar at the time of Zuhr prayers after passing through its traditional route, Chowk Nawab Sahib, Lal Khoo, Mughal Haveli, Mohalla Shi’an, Nisar Haveli, Chhota Mufti Baqar and Chowk Masjid Wazir Khan. The procession will conclude at Karbala Gamey Shah in the evening after passing through its route of Paniwala Talab, Shahi Mohalla, Bazaar Hakeeman and Ounchi Masjid inside Bhaati Gate

traffic plan: City traffic police have also finalised the traffic management plan for Youm-e-Ali with massive deployment of force on the traditional route of the main mourning procession. The police will block all the adjacent arteries on the main procession route on Saturday morning and the motorists will be provided alternative routes.

A traffic police spokesman said that more than 1100 traffic officers including 42 inspectors will be deployed on the main procession route to help police and other security agencies ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic. The vehicular traffic will be diverted to alternate routes from 19 different points on the route of the main procession and a large number of traffic wardens would be deployed on such diversion points.