LAHORE - The martyrdom anniversary of fourth Rashidun Caliph Hazrat Ali (RA) was observed with religious solemnity and spirit across the country on Sunday.

Tight security arrangement had been made by the provincial governments and home department in main cities. Mobile phone service remained suspended in Lahore and other major cities of Punjab on Sunday morning besides a ban on pillion riding. Faithful held majalis, conferences and take out Tazia processions in Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and throughout the country to highlight the personality and achievements of Prophet’s (PBUH) great companion, cousin and son-in-Law Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA), titled Asad Ullah (Lion of Allah).

In Lahore, the traditional Tazia procession was taken out from Mubarak Haveli inside Mochi gate and it reached at Karbala Gamay Shah in the evening after passing through its traditional route. The route of the procession included Imambargah Ghulam Ali Shah, Chowk Nawab Sahab, Mochi gate, Lal Khoo, Fazal Haveli, Takia Nathay Shah, Koocha Shian, Chuhatta Mufti Baqar, Old Kotwali, Kashmiri Bazar, Dabbi Bazar, Sunehri masjid, Paniwala Talab, Chowk Nogaza, Chowk Tarannum cinema, Chowk Tibbi, Bazar Hakeeman, Chowk Novelty, Mohalla Jogian, Oonchi masjid and Bhaati gate.

One entrance point of Mubarak Haweli had been sealed to ensure safety for the procession. Metro bus service remained suspended from MAO College to Shahdara.

Fourteen places along the Lahore route had been declared highly sensitive and snipers had been deployed on 27 buildings. The District government took strict security measures for the procession, as large number of police and reserved police personnel had been deployed on the route and other sensitive places. Special control rooms had been established at different points monitor the situation, both manually and through close circuit cameras installed at sensitive points for the purpose.

Scanners had been erected at the entry points of the procession route. Over 5,000 security forces have been positioned to secure the city. Volunteers and doctors with ambulances accompanied the procession to provide first aid to the mourners at the spot and also shift to hospitals those needed further treatment.

The proceedings of the procession started with the recitation of Quran followed by Nohas and the description of the invaluable services rendered by Hazrat Ali (RA) for the cause of Islam, and an account of the events which lead to his martyrdom. The procession was led by leading Zakirs while different groups of Matam observers and Noha Khwans to pay tributes to the Khalifah during the procession by conducting flagellation (matam) and reciting Nohas.

Speakers of different seminars and conferences held at various imambargahs including Jamia Al-Muntazir Model Town, Imambargah Mubarak Begum Bhaati gate, Kirshan Nagar, Lytton road and others where Zakirs paid tributes to the qualities and achievements of Hazrat Ali (RA). Various organizations held meetings to commemorate the personality and achievements of the fourth Caliph and urged the Muslims to follow his footsteps to regain the lost grandeur of the Ummah.

Local TV reported that the main procession in Karachi showed up from Nishtar Park and proceeded through MA Jinnah Road, Tibet Centre, Jama Cloth Market and concluded at Hussainia Iranian Imam Bargah in Kharadar.

Several containers had been placed on the adjoining roads of MA Jinnah Road to block traffic and to secure the procession while security personnel were deployed at the nearby high-rise buildings to guard the mourners.

Mourning congregation was also organised at Imambargah Kashana-e-Hyderia in Cantonment area of Multan. Massive security arrangements were being observed throughout the procession routes.