LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the present situation demands extraordinary measures and there is a need for unity to foil the nefarious designs of anti-Pakistan elements.

He was presiding over a meeting to review security arrangements for Muharramul Haram, on Monday. The meeting considered in detail security measures adopted in the province for peace and law and order.

The chief minister said that protection of life and property of citizens was the prime responsibility of the state. He said that foolproof security arrangements had been made in the province for maintaining law and order during Muharram.

He said that instructions had been issued to police and administration to take effective security measures for the protection of Majalis and processions and to form a 4-tier cordon for this purpose.

The chief minister said that concerned institutions, police and administration should remain fully alert and utilise all their energies for ensuring peace and tranquility in the province. He said that a ban has been imposed on provocative speeches, literature and wall-chalking and stern action will be taken against the violators.

Shahbaz Sharif said that a monitoring system has been devised with the help of modern equipment and CCTV cameras for the safety of processions and Majalis during Muharram. He said that Punjab government has made even better security arrangements for Muharram this year than the past and maximum resources have been provided for this purpose. He directed that concerned departments and institutions should perform their duties with close coordination.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of increase in the prices of some essential items, fruits and vegetables and sought a report from Provincial Cabinet Committee on Price Control.

The chief minister directed that Cabinet Committee should take effective steps for the provision of food items to the citizens at reasonable rates and action should be taken against hoarders and profiteers without any discrimination.

He said that no one could be allowed to exploit the masses through overcharging. He said that no compromise would be made on the supply of edible items, fruits and vegetables to the masses at reasonable rates. Separately, Shahbaz Sharif has left for London on a three-day private visit. Sources say during the visit the CM has no official engagements and he is due to get a medical check-up of his health.