RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi police held a young girl carrying bullets on Sunday evening as she tried to join a procession being held on the Chehlum of Imam Hussain (AS).
After passing through a walkthrough metal detector in the Kohati Bazaar area to join in the city’s biggest mourning procession, Hania Bibi*, 8, was taken aside for a pat-down by the women police, who found the bullets on her person. She was then turned over to the Ganjmandi Police.
The police said she had 50 live 30-bore bullets, and that the child revealed that a relative, Gul Muhammad, 22, had given her the bullets. The police then picked up Muhammad.
Ganjmandi Police Station House Officer (SHO) Inspector Khan Shabbir said Muhammad had confessed to giving bullets to the child.
The SHO said the arrested man had been cooperating with the police and further interrogation would clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The main procession starting from Imambargah Ashiq Hussain in Teli Mohalla and ending at Imambargah Qadimi on Jamia Masjid Road had been secured with walkthrough gates and metal detectors, while over 5,000 police personnel were deputed on special duty in the district.
Separately, local Shia community leaders condemned the bomb blast at a procession in Rahim Yar Khan.
Saqlain Bukhari, a local leader of the community, lamented the loss of innocent life and said that the government should make foolproof security arrangements for processions.
He appreciated the police’s security arrangements in Rawalpindi, and said similar attention should be paid to processions in remote areas.
*Name changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.