LAHORE: After passing through its traditional five-kilometer long route, the Youm-e-Ali (RA) procession, starting from Mubarak Haveli, culminated peacefully at Karbala Gamay Shah despite severe security threats.
Lahore police made strict security arrangements and around 3,000 policemen, under the supervision of 12 SPs, protected the route which fell in at least nine police jurisdictions. The participants were checked at four points before entering the procession.
The police officers, including IG Punjab Arif Nawaz and CCPO BA Nasir, held marathon meetings two weeks ago. More recently, Lahore police completed the security audit of at least 193 streets, installed CCTV cameras and also took surety bonds from the shopkeepers along the route. Checking and body search points were also established. Law enforcers sought the help of the local community and businessmen to devise the security plan.
Youm-e-Ali being observed across the country
Afterwards, search and sweep operations were conducted in the areas and shops on the route.
On the day, all the roads and streets leading towards the route were blocked using barbed wire, barricades, tents and containers. The path was cleared by special branch sniffer dogs and Bomb Disposal Squad officials. The participants were allowed entry after passing through electronic gates.
Officials in civvies and snipers on rooftops were deployed to keep an eye on any suspicious person or activity.
Dolphin Squad and Police Response Unit remained on patrol on nearby roads and streets to deal with any emergency. Aerial surveillance using drone cameras was also conducted. Senior police officers monitored the procession sitting in control room and Punjab Safe Cities Authority Lahore.
Inspector General of Punjab Police Arif Nawaz, CCPO Lahore BA Nasir, DIG Operations Lahore Ashfaq Ahmad Khan and others visited the sites to monitor security arrangements. As far as traffic arrangements were concerned, City Traffic Police Lahore set diversions on the roads, leading to the route side. They also deployed extra wardens to maintain the flow of traffic and set designated points for parking.
Speaking on the occasion, the IGP visited Karbala Gamay Shah to review security arrangements of central processions and deployed officers on the spot. “Nobody will leave unless the last mourner leaves,” he said.
He ordered that all citizens should only be allowed to enter the procession after being checked by metal detectors and walkthrough gates. While visiting different points of the route, the IGP told officials about their duties and urged them to remain more alert, given the current circumstances. He also encouraged them to ensure their own safety.
Chinese VP in town
The same security plan was replicated to ensure security of the visiting Chinese vice president. Rangers officials were also deployed for his security and remained on standby for Youm-e-Ali procession security. A cavalcade will also accompany the Chinese VP when he travels during the tour.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2019.