LAHORE: This year, the Punjab government has decided to seek assistance from the Pakistan army during 8, 9 and 10 Muharram to ensure security in 29 major districts.
The army will work alongside the police, rangers and other law enforcement agencies in major cities across the province to ensure security during Muharram. Further, pillion riding will also be banned across Punjab on 9 and 10 Muharram.
In this regard, an application from the Punjab Home Department has been forwarded to the Federal Interior Ministry to summon the troops. Twelve districts in the province have been declared sensitive including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Bhakkar, Muzaffargarh, Jhang, Sargodha, Khanewal, Multan, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur and Attock.
Female sharpshooters ready to perform Muharram security duty
Further, the Punjab Home Department has summoned the army in 29 districts across the province at the police’s request. Meanwhile, seven districts including Lodhran, Rahim Yar Khan, Okara, Vehari, Khushab, Mianwali and Rajanpur have been declared places where peace has been ensured.
Sources said 26 army companies had been released to assist the Punjab government during Muharram last year. This year, the federal government will decide the number of troops to be released. However, the Punjab government has demanded that troops be allocated for security purposes in 29 districts.
Army officials will be on standby in sensitive districts and will assist the police and the administration in establishing peace during any situation. Punjab Interior Additional Chief Secretary Syed Ali Murtaza stated that control rooms have been established to monitor security during Muharram. Religious gatherings and processions will be monitored with the help of security cameras, he added.
He maintained that army will be on standby to control law and order in the province. In addition to banning pillion riding, mobile phone services will also be suspended in streets and lanes where Ashura processions will travel.
On Muharram 9 and 10, the government will use drone cameras and helicopters for aerial surveillance of procession routes. For this purpose, the Punjab government has asked the federal government for four helicopters.
Muharram security: K-P to deploy 32,000 security personnel
Two helicopters will be used in Lahore, one Rawalpindi and one in Multan. Further, the Punjab Home Department has issued orders for enforcing of Section 144 across the province on Muharram 9 and 10.
On the direction of the Punjab chief minister, the members of the provincial and the National Assembly will also be available to assist other law enforcement agencies, including the Home Department.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2019.
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