Police have decided that all cinemas, hotels, CD and music shops will remain closed from the first to the tenth of Muharram, while all routes for Muharram procession will remain sealed.
The decision was taken after traders and shopkeepers met with City Police SP Asif Iqbal at the Khan Raziq police station on Saturday.
The SP urged traders and clerics to cooperate in establishing interfaith harmony to avoid potential terrorist attacks. He said that traders had voluntarily decided to keep their shops closed from 5th Muharram in Qissa Khawani Bazaar to provide processions a clear path and assured the police of their support. Strict action will be taken against hotels that violate the decision.
Additional police contingents will be deployed across Peshawar and the city will be sealed to facilitate the procession. Traffic from Qissa Khawani Bazaar will be diverted through alternate routes starting from the first day of Muharram.
In previous years, the standard practice had been to shut Qissa Khawani Bazaar for the last three days of Muharram. However, this year it has been increased to five days.
Similarly stringent steps were taken in sensitive areas in southern districts of the province. The Bannu district administration has imposed a curfew in sensitive areas around Imambargahs.
Sub-divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ismail Marwat in a meeting with clerics and Shia elders decided that strict security measures would also be taken in the city and surrounding areas during Muharram. All entry and exit routes of the Imambargahs will be sealed. Clerics and others officials assured their full support to maintain the law and order situation in the area.
On the directives of Nowshera District Police Officer Muhammad Hussain Khan, district police officials held a meeting at Risalpur police station and decided that all routes leading to and from Imambargahs across the district would be kept under strict vigilance.
He said that police personnel will also be deployed in plain clothes for ensuring tight security.
Motorcycles banned in Gilgit
As part of security arrangements ahead of Muharram, the district administration of Gilgit has decided to ban motorcycles within the city, said Senior Administration Official Rahman Shah, talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday.
He said the decision was taken in light of fresh incidents, including a recent bomb blast. Justifying the ban, Senior Police Official Ali Sher said that it was easy to carry subversive activity on motorcycles. He said the ban will help maintain law and order. Pillion riding has already been banned by the government in the days ahead of Muharram.
Other security in the city has already increased and police, rangers and Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts have increased patrolling roads. Vehicles entering the city are also being searched at check points.
Members of banned outfits arrested
Security forces and police conducted a joint operation against members of banned organisations in and around DI Khan city and arrested a dozen people on Saturday, the DPO’s office told The Express Tribune.
DI Khan DPO Sohail Khalid said that the operation was conducted amid the arrival of Muharram to ensure security in DI Khan.
Houses in Mohala Alam Sher, Mohala Dehwan Sahib, Mohala Chaman Chowk, Mohala Mojahd Nagar, Basthee Ustharana, Basthee Tareen, Basthee Tusif Abad, were raided. Those arrested were shifted to an unknown location for interrogation, Khalid added.
In another joint operation, the police and security forces arrested seven people in Zafar Abad Colony suspected to be associated with banned organisations. Weapons were also recovered during the raid on Friday.
Six more people were arrested a day earlier on Thursday and were shifted to Haripur jail by the district government.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2012.