ISLAMABAD - Curfew in Rawalpindi has not only paralysed the daily routine life of people in the city but the federal capital (Islamabad) also remained closed due to tense situation in the adjacent city.

The Punjab government after the lethal incident happened in Rawalpindi that triggered riots has imposed curfew in the city to avoid further expansion of fight between two religious groups that has already claimed several lives.

It has also decided to keep mobile phones closed till further notice. As all the decisions are being taken to secure the lives of people but at the same time the masses living in twin cities are ultimate affected of the situation.

At the moment mobile services are working in Islamabad but are closed in Rawalpindi and people are unable to contact each other. Many people who were supposed to come to Islamabad for their daily business have decided to remain indoor in the given situation. The educational institutions have also cancelled some of their activities such as Islamic University cancelled its entry test that was supposed to be held today (Sunday).

Though the government had deputed a large number of security personnel across the country to avoid any bad situation on the occasion of Ashura but some bad incidents have disrupted peace in some other cities as well. It is being reported through different channels that Pakistan Army has been called in to tackle the situation like in Rawalpindi after the other day’s incident.

Certain quarters have also declared the situation in Rawalpindi as very complex and have feared that if the religious organisations do not fulfil their responsibilities to calm down their followers, the fire will spread to many other areas and more people might be killed. On the other side, the involvement of external elements could not be ignored but security agencies are yet to uncover the hands involved in the heinous crime.

Meanwhile, Ashura was observed with religious solemnity and peace to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions in the desert of Karbala. Youm-e-Ashur was observed with religious sanctity as hundreds of mourners took out processions in Islamabad areas of Melody, I-10 /4, Shalimar, F-11, Tarnol and Sihala and Barakahu.

Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration deputed 7,000 personnel of police, Army and Anti Terrorism Force to provide security to mourners in Ashura processions and majalis. Security for Ashura had been increased in the capital as additional policemen and paramilitary forces were called in to cope with any untoward incident in sensitive areas.  

The personnel of law enforcement agencies, including Central Investigation Department, Traffic Police, and Elite Force performed duties along the processions. Special ranger teams performed duty as Quick Response Force (QRP) and surveillance cameras and walk through gates were installed on routes to check people.

Hundreds of plainclothes policemen were alert around processions at sensitive locations. Police continued patrolling within a 100-metres radius of congregations and recessions, while parking lots were set up 100 metres away from gatherings.               

As the observance of Ashura drew to a close all over the country, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has restored cellular services in many parts of Pakistan.The government had suspended mobile phone services in most cities to avoid terrorist activity during Muharram 9 and 10.

With the dawn of Saturday morning, services in Islamabad, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Punjab and in parts of Sindh and Balochistanhave been restored. Rawalpindi, where clashes have erupted, service has also been partially restored.