Multan

Youm-e-Ashur, the 10th of Muharram, was observed with religious fervour and solemnity in entire South Punjab region amid tight security on Saturday. The day was observed to commemorate martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions at Karbala in 60 Hijra. Clad in black clothes, the mourners exercised self-flagellation with sharp knives mounted on chains, swords and other sharp tools. Besides youths, women, children and elderly citizens also flagellated themselves. The atmosphere remained peaceful as no untoward incident was reported from any major area of South Punjab region and the masses exhibited sectarian harmony throughout the day. The security was put on red-alert by the district administration in Multan as over five thousand cops and four thousand national volunteers were deployed to maintain law and order situation in the district. In order to avert any untoward incident, Pakistan army, police and other law enforcing agencies executed a joint security plan. The troops of Pakistan Army and Rangers remained on alert to give back up to the civilian security forces.

The faithful brought out over 150 mourning (tazia and zuljinah) processions while over 1500 congregations (majalis) were held in different areas of Multan district on Youm-e-Ashur. The processions of famous Tazias brought out by the Sunnis included Ustad Wala, Shagird Wala, Ramzan Wala, Bakhu Khan, Bhedi Potraan, Kamtar Wala, Gilani Wala, Lodhi Wala, Saleem Uddin Wala, Khulasi Line, Rashid Wala and Ahmad Bakhash Wala, which terminated at Darbar Pak Mai. The Rescue 1122, health department and civil defence volunteers established special camps in various parts of the city, where quick first aid was provided to the mourners injured during flagellation. The Mepco, Wasa and other departments also set up their camps to offer their concerned services.

Law enforcement agencies sealed Multan City and Cantonment areas while top security officials visited all areas along with other officials. Sources disclosed that dozens of close circuit cameras were installed on procession routes to keep secret eye on anti-social elements. Similarly, police sealed all the roads leading to the main procession route by putting barricades late on Thursday night.

Cops appointed at the entry points of Majalis and procession routes thoroughly frisked the participants. The entry of all vehicles had been banned in the sensitive areas and the parking stands were established at a considerable distance to avoid any untoward incident.

Similarly, special pickets were established by police in different parts of the city. The entry and exit points of Multan, Bahawalpur, Jhang, Bhakkar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, Lodhran and Khanewal were heavily guarded by the police to keep a check on the activities of miscreants. Motorway cops also remained on patrol throughout the day on highways. The networks of all cellular companies and mobile internet service also remained suspended on Muharram 10th. The mobile phone and internet services were restored in the night.