RAWALPINDI: State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi has said that enemy elements are hell bent on destabilising the country but the state will ensure the protection of every ethnic and religious group. He said that the state will unveil a system through which the government representatives and administration will be in constant touch with all the different religious sects and ensure unity within them.
Afridi expressed these thoughts after reviewing the religious procession on Ashura in Rawalpindi, speaking to journalists. Punjab Minister Raja Rashid Hafeez, Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Dr Umer Jehangir. CCPO Abbas Ahsan, Arif Abbasi and the higher ups of law enforcement agencies were also present on the occasion.
Afridi appreciated the security organisation for the religious processions on Ashura across Rawalpindi, adding that the federal and provincial governments are ensuring that religious scholars are taken into consideration. He said steps must be taken to ensure peace and harmony among all the religions and sects in Pakistan. Punjab Minister Rashid Hafeez said that the cabinet ministers were also actively ensuring peace in their constituencies and districts besides the provincial police. He added that the religious scholars must play a key role in ensuring peace among different followers of various religions.
Police have registered cases against organisers and participants of three Muharram processions which were carried out without prior permission by the authorities. It is mandatory for organisers of all Muharram processions to get permission from the authorities beforehand as all unauthorised gatherings in the capital are banned under Section 144 CrPC.
There were total 177 sanctioned mourning processions and 909 majalis in the capital for which the authorities made security arrangements. However, police said two processions were carried out without permission on Muharram 9 in limits of Sihala and Lohi Bher police stations. Sihala police booked six named and 90 unidentified persons for taking out the procession while Lohi Bher police nominated four people in the FIR. Another ‘illegal’ procession was carried out in Farash Town in limits of Shehzad Town police on Muharram 10 for which four named and some 80 unidentified persons have been booked. All of them have been booked for violating the ban on gatherings and blocking roads. However, no arrest has been made yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2018.