The National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) will set up two additional help lines for Muharram. The decision was taken after Interior Minister Rehman Malik chaired a meeting at his office to review the law and order situation on Tuesday. He also directed his subordinates to ensure the provision two helicopters each to the Provincial Police Officers in all provinces to ensure surveillance. Malik said so far 2,783 religious gathering have been held peacefully in Punjab, 90 in Sindh, 10 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, three in Balochistan, 68 in Islamabad, 94 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 18 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir. He said a total of 909 religious gatherings and 177 processions will be held in the city. The minister said that among other arrangements, walk-through gates are being fixed at entry and exit points of procession areas, while special arrangements have been made for frisking burqa-clad women.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2011.