LAHORE: The government of Punjab has imposed section 144 throughout the province during Muharram and banned gathering of five or more than five persons, sitting or standing on the roofs of the houses, presence of onlookers near Muharram processions and pillion riding.
According to the notification issued by Additional Chief Home Secretary Azam Suleman Khan, there are threats to the law and order situation, sectarian harmony and public peace in Punjab from militants, extremists and other anti-social elements with reference to Muharram.
The notification further stated that in order to prevent disturbance of public peace and tranquility in Punjab, section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 would help maintain peace and harmony.
The additional chief home secretary said the Home Department in exercise of powers vested under section 144(6) Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 prohibited and banned gathering of five or more than five people except for Muharram processions or majalis (religious congregations).
Also holding of any procession or majlis is not permitted without a prior permission from the district government and taking out any procession (except Muharram processions) has been banned.
According to the notification, obstructing any Muharram procession whether licensed or permitted by the competent authority, construction of any illegal lookout post on the rooftops of houses situated on the route of Muharram procession was not allowed.
Even the local residents have been instructed not to stand or sit on the roofs of their houses situated on the either side of the routes at the time of procession on any day of Muharram. Standing of spectators in front of shops and presence of onlookers near Muharram processions is strictly banned.
While opening of doors and windows of the houses located at the route of procession, opening of shops on the route of any Muharram procession, playing of fireworks, crackers, unnecessary stacking or storage of scraps, bricks, stones, bottles, tyres and glasses is not allowed, according the notification. Taking any baggage or luggage to be placed inside Muharram majalis venues would be allowed only after physical and electronic scanning.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2017.