CHINIOT / SARGODHA: The Chiniot district police officer (DPO) Rana Akbar Shahzad recently announced that the entry of 50 clerics from various schools of thought had been banned in the district before Muharram.
Shahzad also announced that 24 ulema from Chiniot were among those whose movements within their own areas were already restricted. “Most of the ulema who have been contained are those who are already on several watch lists. Some of these clerics have been charged with inciting religious hatred against minority communities,” Shahzad said. “Many of these clerics have already been prohibited from delivering sermons but they tend to violate the ban during Muharram,” said inspector Javed Sahu, adding that the police had been strictly monitoring all mosques to pick up on anyone inciting violence.
Police officials said that the month of Muharram was an especially tense one in Chiniot and the security situation needed to be monitored very closely.
“There are many rival groups here and there are several operatives of the Sipah-e-Sahaba and Sipah-e-Muhammadi in the region,” the DPO said. “Most of the tension isn’t between minorities at this time, it’s between Sunni and Shia groups.
There are scores of madrassah’s in the city and we are keeping a close watch on every one of them,” said constable Asghar Riaz.
The restriction for ulema entry into the Chiniot district for the entire month of Muharram has also been enforced before and strict vigilance of all ulema is being carried out by all security forces. The new list of banned clerics includes the names of two ulema, who died five years ago.
These include Deobandi Maulana Manzoor Hussain Hijazi and Shiite Maulana Tajuddin Haidri.
Similarly in Bahawalpur, 54 clerics from different schools of thought have been banned entry during the month of Muharram. District police officer (DPO) Babar Bakht Qureshi said that 42 of the banned clerics had been prohibited from making speeches during the month of Muharram. According to police officials, the entry of the Ulema has been restricted under MPO-3 during Moharram-ul-Haram to avert any security threat.
Meanwhile, in Sialkot over 154 Tazia, Alam and Zuljinnah processions are expected to be taken out amid tight security. “These processions will pass through their traditional routes and will be closely monitored by police in the area,” superintendent police Tariq Doltana said.
The processions will end at the main Imambargahs in Imam
Sahib Chowk, Adda Pasruriyan and the other Zuljinnah processions coming from different areas will merge with the main processions at Chowk Shaheedaan Sialkot city.
“Thousands of the mourners will walk in the processions and special grounds have been allocated for the mourning rights,” Doltana said, adding that knife-fitted chains would be sold outside the grounds.
Zakirs, Naat Khwaans and other religious scholars have already begun preparing their sermons to highlight the significance of the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his companions who laid down their lives for supremacy of justice and righteousness.
Water and milk Sabeels will also be set up to quench the thirst of the mourners and a Sham-e-Ghareeban Majlis for the mourners.
Hundreds of the police personnel and members of the sensitive agencies will patrol the city and remain deployed at Imambargahs and mosques to prevent any untoward incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2010.
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