Last year Muharram Ashura was observed with religious fervor without any security and criminal concern, all over the Pakistan. It was possible mainly due to two reasons:
- A complete harmony within all sects of religion.
- Well organized security arrangements.
This year interior ministry held different meetings to make the Ashura a peaceful and harmonious religious event. Pillion riding in Karachi is banned with immediate effect while it will be banned for 9th and 10th Muharram in all other areas of Pakistan. A brief account on the subject is appended below:
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been prepared for Muharram-ul-Harram and these SOPs are being implemented in true spirit in the federal capital and other parts of the country. The capital police have reviewed security arrangements in the city for Muharram and the force has decided to arrange a foolproof security for the processions and majalis. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muhammad Yousuf Malik presided a special meeting that the police officers should maintain close liaison with peace committees and organizers of majalis and processions to avert any mishap. The meeting also decided that Rangers and FC would also assist the police force to ensure elaborate security arrangements. It was decided that processions would pass through their fixed routes and timings of processions. The SSP also directed for effective patrolling and use commando vehicles. He also directed to set up a control room at SSP Office, headed by SP (Legal) Javed Iqbal Khattak.
A high level meeting with General Officer Commanding, Major Gen Zahid Latif Mirza in chair held at Quetta Cantt to review security arrangements in connection with Muharram-ul-Haram.
The meeting decided that no one would be allowed to display weapons including licensed arms during Muharram-ul-Haram. Personnel of law enforcement agencies would also not be allowed to carry weapons without uniform. The meeting further decided that stern action would be taken against persons who were found involved in displaying weapons, wall chalking and spreading religious hatred. Speaking on the occasion, GOC Maj-Gen. Zahid Latif Mirza said that Pakistan Army would remain alert during the Ashura days while FC would be deployed on routes of Muharram-ul-Haram related processions and important points in and outside the city.
A control room would be set up at provincial Home Department which would remain in touch with law enforcement agencies in all divisions and districts of the province. He said that bio-data of buildings located on routs of processions, hotels and others were being collected adding that peace committees meetings of religious scholars and local elders would be held at police stations level.
The central procession of Muharram will have three exit and entrance ways. The police will also provide security to the persons coming from other areas of the city towards the procession.
A regular exit route will be offered after the procession. 5,700 policemen will provide security to the route and a comprehensive strategy has also been developed in case of any emergency.
An Emergency Muharram Cell has been set up at the Chief Minister House. An official announcement said that this will function round the clock. The Cell has been established for monitoring and keeps a liaison among various organizations regarding the maintenance of law and order, monitoring the situation and entertaining complaints of the people. This cell will also remain in contact with the City District Government Karachi, IGP Sindh, Pakistan Rangers, Home Department and the Corps Headquarter. The cell has started functioning and it is headed by Deputy Secretary Administration, Saeed Ahmed Shaikh. The phone numbers are: 021-99202051-5 and 021- 99207349-50 and fax: 021-99202000.
Commissioner Sukkur Inamullah Dharejo presided over a meeting to review security arrangements to observe Muharram. A number of decisions were taken on the occasion for the maintenance of religious harmony during the Holy month. The meeting decided that no leniency would be shown to the elements involved in violation of the code of conduct, misuse of loudspeakers, wall chalking, distribution of provocative material and inciting speeches and stern action will be taken against the violaters.
The Commissioner said that effective arrangements had been made during the previous years for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere during Muharram-ul-Haram and even better arrangements should be made this year.
In all Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa strict security measures are being taken and directions have been passed on to the officials concerned to pull them out all resources to provide full security during Muharram. The situation in Dera Ismail Khan is tensed however all concerned security arrangements have been made there. The ministry of Interior has provided two helicopters to each province for surveillance of sensitive areas while the ulema of Parachinar have signed a peace agreement. Police is doing a good job while Rangers, FC and Frontier Constabulary are on standby.
Security forces have established checkpoints on Dir-Timergara Road in the jurisdiction of Upper Dir. No specific threat of attacks, but general threats do exist that are forcing to improve security measures. In Lower Dir, strict checking would be carried out at Odigram, Zulam and Chakdarra. The last two will be exclusively manned by army and paramilitary personnel. However, Odigram checkpoint will be jointly manned by paramilitary personnel and police officials..
Lahore division Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik presided a meeting and stressed on tolerance and harmony among the masses and followers of different religions and sects during Muharram. He stressed police, administration and society religious representatives and followers should work together to maintain peace in society.
MOHARRAM ADVISORY TO PROJECT STAFF
During Ashura following is advised please:
1. Avoid going near to the procession(s).
2. Do not follow the route of processions.
3. Try to restrict your movements to offices or homes as far as possible.
4. Vehicle movements to be reduced to minimum and drivers to be briefed.
5. Follow the local security agencies instructions.
6. Remain in contact with security team for updates.
7. When out of home, keep contacting your family frequently.
8. In case of any incident contact security team and next supervisor in chain.
Allah Bless You All and remain safe.