LAHORE - Authorities Friday threw a massive security blanket across the Punjab province by employing tens of thousands of police to guard mourning processions and sittings ahead of Ashura.

Armed patrol and security searches are intensified in all major cities with record deployment of police force in addition to paramilitary troops and Elite force . Pillion riding has been banned for two days while mobile phone services will partially remain suspended in all major towns.  Hundreds of paramilitary troops are deployed in most sensitive districts of the province. Punjab Inspector General Police Arif Nawaz Khan Friday visited different Imambargahs in Lahore to review security deployment. The police chief expressed satisfaction over security arrangements for the mourners and ordered the police to stay alert.

Arif told reporters that more than 200,000 police  and volunteers are performing security duties to protect of Muharram processions and worship places.

He also said that snipers and commandos were also deployed at the rooftop of high-rises alongside the routes of the main processions. He also directed the officers to constitute special teams for the daily checking of sensitive Majalis and processions and a comprehensive report regarding checking should be sent to the concerned police headquarters and central police office regularly.

The IGP paid surprise visits to Imam Bargah Ghulshan-e- Zahra Bhaikaywal and Mohammadi Masjid Hali Road Gulberg. The police chief also met the administrators of Imam Bargahs, Majalis to discuss security related issues. SP Model Town Hussain Haider and SP Iqbal Town Omar Farooq were also present on the occasion.

On this occasion, the organizers expressed their satisfaction over the security arrangements and lauded the efforts of police officers for ensuring foolproof security for the mourners. They also appreciated the efforts of local police for actively performing security duties amid hot weather condition and serious threats.

The IGP was informed that policemen were given special briefings before their deployment at different points. The police chief directed the officers that regular search, sweep and combing operations should be carried out in the surrounding of sensitive Majalis and processions and it should also be ensured that all Azadars should be checked through walkthrough gates and metal detectors.  The IGP also visited IC3 command and control center to check the security arrangements and operational cameras. Lahore CCPO Muhammad Amin Wanis briefed the IGP about the security steps.

As per police security plan, at least 37,398 Police Qaumi Razakars, 5,580 special police and 85,515 volunteers are performing security duties for Muharram processions and Majalis in addition to 125,000-strong police force. Field police officers have been told to take peace committee members into confidence while implementing security plans.

Similarly, the field staff launched a crackdown on display of firearms and vehicles with unauthorised number plates, tinted glasses, blue lights and green number plates.


Ashraf Javed