LAHORE – Youm-e-Ashur – the martyrdom day of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions in Karbala – was observed in the country with traditional solemnity amid stringent security checks on Sunday. Besides deployment of massive contingents of security officials, the government had suspended cellular services and banned pillion bike riding in order to avert any unwanted happening. President Asif Zardari meanwhile instructed Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday to come up with a comprehensive report on the sporadic incidents of violence in DI Khan and Rawalpindi that sought to mar the Ashura security arrangements, made for ensuring sectarian peace and harmony. “Howsoever unfortunate and condemnable such sporadic incidents of violence are, these cannot detract from the overall atmosphere of peace that was witnessed during Ashura……. for this, the Interior Ministry and Minister Rehman Malik, law-enforcement agencies, provincial governments and all those who worked hard to ensure peace deserved to be complimented,” the president was quoted as having said. According to Presidential Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, Zardari commended the efforts made by the government for peace during Ashura. The president said, “I also wish to commend common citizens, volunteers, boy scouts clerics and religious scholars for the part played by them in maintaining peace and ensuring safety of people who were in the state of mourning during Ashura,”Zardari particularly appreciated the successes made in timely detection of gory plots of sectarian and militant violence in different parts of the country that helped prevent potentially huge human and material losses during Ashura, and said that they deserved special commendation.The president also expressed sympathies with bereaved families, and said the blood of innocent people shed while performing religious obligations would not go in vain. He urged the people from all walks of life not to be provoked and maintain unity to confront militants or religious zealots who stirred up a sectarian schism and never felt any qualms in killing innocent people in the name of religion and did not spare even women and children. Although the silencing of cell phones caused inconvenience to the masses, leaders of the Shia community appreciated it, saying it helped avoid terrorist attacks on peaceful mourners. In Rawalpindi‚ main Alam and Zuljinah procession emerged from (Colonel) Maqbool Hussain Imambargah. In Lahore‚ main procession was taken out from Nisar Haveli which after passing through its traditional routes terminated at Karbala Gamay Shah on Sunday evening. In Karachi‚ central procession culminated at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar after being brought out from Nishtar Park. In Peshawar‚ main Alam and Zuljinah procession was taken out from Alamdar Karbala Imambargah‚ Qissa Khawani Bazaar. In Quetta‚ main Alam and Zuljinah procession emerged from Alamdar Road. In Gilgit-Baltistan‚ main Tazia and Zuljinah procession was taken out from Markazi Imamia Masjid in Gilgit. It culminated at the same place. In Muzaffarabad‚ main Alam and Zuljinah procession was taken out from Markazi Imambargah Pir Alam Shah Bokhari. It terminated at its starting point after marching through its traditional route. Following the violence incidents in Karachi, DI Khan, Quetta, Peshawar and Rawalpindi, the administration in Lahore had tightened security for mourning processions and Majalis-e-Aza. The administration closed down both sides of the route of the central procession and only allowed mourners to enter after having their identification cards checked. Army helicopters carried out aerial surveillance before the central procession could move along the route, with special police squad moving ahead. The procession emerged from Nisar Haveli inside Mochi Gate on Saturday night and marched on its traditional route before culminating at Karbala Gamay Shah on Sunday night. Various Zuljinnah, Alam and Taazia processions had merged with it. The procession was well behind its scheduled time, as it had to stop for security clearance at several places on its route, across which a number of ‘sabeels’ of juice, milk and water were set up, mostly by the Sunnis, to facilitate the mourners. Besides, a number of banners calling for Shia-Sunni unity were erected by different political leaders, electoral candidates and office-bearers of the district government. The mourners were beating the chest while many also flagellated themselves as the procession proceeded on. After the culmination of the procession, Majlis-e-Sham-e-Ghariban was held inside Karbala Gamay Shah in which zakirin (clerics) highlighted the sacrifice by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). Earlier, the central procession marched through Mohallah Chehel Bibian Imambargah Syed Wajid Ali Shah, Lakkar Mandi, Imambargah Mehdi Shah, Mubarak Haveli, Chowk Nawab Sahab, Kuch Qazi Khan, Imambargah Molvi Feroze Ali, Kucha Miskinan, Mohallah Pir Gilanian, Imambargah Rajab Ali Shah, Chohata Mufti Baqar, Chowk Purani Kotwali, Kashmiri Bazar, Sunehri Masjid, Dabbi Bazar, Suha Bazar, Gumti Bazar, Said Mitha Bazar, Tehsil Bazar, Bazar Hakiman, Unchi Masjid and Bhaati Chowk. Over 20,000 law enforcers, among them Rangers and FC officials, manned all sensitive points, particularly the route of the Zuljinnah procession. Policemen were deployed all along the route, with snipers positioned on roofs of building located on either side of the route that had been marked off with barbed wire. Each mourner was subjected to thorough search with the help of metal detectors before clearing him/her for the procession. Besides, special gates for scanning explosives and weapons had also been set up at different entrance points. Apart from that Army and police helicopters kept taking rounds of the city skies to monitor the situation; Rangers vehicles kept patrolling the city streets. Meanwhile, President Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, in their messages, urged the nation to maintain unity and discipline in its ranks to achieve the glory of Islam. President Zardari asked the people to reiterate their pledge to follow the teachings of Islam and fight against those trying to make Pakistan surrender at the altar of narrow mindedness for their selfish interests. He urged the nation to forget petty differences and promote peace‚ security‚ brotherhood‚ patience and steadfastness.In his message, Prime Minister Ashraf called for utilising all energies to make Pakistan an abode of peace by following in the footsteps of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). He said the nation was united for the eradication of terrorism and Pakistan would be free of terrorists shortly.