ISLAMABAD: The city police will increase foot patrol, roof top deployments and street plugging to ensure strict security for the mourners participating in the main Ashura processions and majalis on Friday.
Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC) would assist police in the security of sensitive imambargahs and processions routes. No vehicles have been allowed to park in the close vicinity of procession routes and imambargahs. Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) have designated special parking lots for the vehicles’ parking from where only pedestrians would be allowed to the guarded entrances to the imambargahs.
Over a thousand personnel of FC and Rangers would help the city area police in the security of sensitive places including the G-6 imambargah and Imam Bari, where the main processions will be held.
Similar security arrangements were made for the security of sensitive places including F-11 Imambargah in the Saddar area of the city. Police foot patrols in civil dress were also deployed in the areas of the processions and majalis to keep an eye on any unwanted elements. Over 300 police personnel assisted by over 40 personnel of Rangers and FC would be deployed for the security of the Ashura procession sites and routes.
Teams of Industrial Area police circled Islamabad on Thursday to ensure effective checking and patrolling and arrested 35 suspects, impounded 60 bikes besides apprehending 120 motorcyclists for pillion riding.
Special teams police stations conducted search operations in various areas along with teams of Bomb Disposal Squad, police commandos and female police.
Search was also made by sniffer dogs wherever it was deemed necessary. Police team arrested 35 suspects during search operation in various areas of I-9 and Sabzi Mandi conducted with the assistance of Bomb Disposal squads.
Photos and finger prints were taken of the nabbed motorcyclists so they could be identified if involved in any kind of criminal activity in future.
Koral police station arrested three persons from Ghauri town area and recovered three kalashnikoves, six magazines and 150 rounds from their possession. The accused were identified as Shahid, Iqbal, Zulfiqar Shah.
Muharram 9 procession
Meanwhile, thousands of mourners crammed into the street adjacent to the central imambargah amid stringent security measures in G-6 on Thursday. The procession started in the afternoon and lasted well into the night, going near the Aabpara Police Station on 7th Avenue, Melody in G-6/2 and ending at the central imambargah in G-6 around 10 pm.
Those attending the Majlis-i-Aza had to walk through special security gates installed by the police on the main road. The security was tight and the police was not taking any chances. Heavy contingents of police and Rangers were deployed to protect the procession and city hospitals. Almost all roads leading to Melody Market and many of the roads leading to Blue Area were cordoned off.
City administration had earlier held meetings with various ulemas and representatives of mosques for their cooperation. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ali Ahmad told The Express Tribune that the support extended by volunteers, scouts and members of the committees has made the security measures more effective. The mourning procession consisted of Zuljinah, Alam and Tazia. The participants recited the sacrifices rendered by Imam Hussain (RA), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his companions and family members at Karbala.
There were threats and the effectiveness of security arrangements in the past was not very inspiring. But that did not stop the faithful, many of them barefoot, from participating. They beat their chests and hit their backs with sharp chained knives, signifying the treatment meted out to Syed Sajjad, son of Imam Hussain, who was taken prisoner by the forces of Yazid.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2010.
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