The Islamabad police are seeking a ban on Eid prayers other than some 700 designated places across the city.
“People usually gather in open spaces in their neighbourhoods for Eid prayers, which is risky from a security point of view,” said a senior police officer. It also becomes difficult for the police to provide them protection, he said.
The capital police have identified over 700 mosques and imambargahs in the city where Eidul Azha prayers will be held on Saturday. Over 2,850 police officials will be deputed at these locations, said a press release issued by the Islamabad police on Wednesday.
Some 30 of these worship places were identified as highly sensitive and will be given enhanced security arrangements – more than 400 police officials will be deputed here alone. Walk-through gates and hand-held scanners will be used for checking worshippers.
“Separate parking lots will be designated away from the main mosque compounds and no vehicle will be allowed beyond that point,” said the officer. Lal Masjid, Main Jamiya Mosque in G-9, Imambargah G-6, Masjid Quba in I-8 and other main mosques in residential sectors where Eid prayers will be held have been declared sensitive. At the top of the list is Faisal Mosque, where the president and the prime minister are expected to offer their prayers.
The police said the mosques’ security committees were asked to coordinate with them to devise a security plan, which includes hiring private security guards as well.
The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) will ensure that markets as well as shopping areas are manned by traffic officials to regulate the traffic, said the press release.
The capital police have already been on high alert for the past two weeks in the wake of threats in the city. Since the majority of the capital’s residents leave for their native towns, police patrols will also be increased in streets, to reduce chances of burglaries.
Eid arrangements in Pindi
In a meeting between the garrison city’s district coordination officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar and the district peace committee comprising religious scholars and local leaders on Tuesday, it was decided that walk-through gates would be installed at single entry points at mosques and open spaces for prayers.
The city police have decided to depute 3,000 police officials to safeguard places where Eid prayers would be offered, stated a press released issued by the office of Rawalpindi city police officer. Car parking will not be allowed within 500 metres of sensitive places of worship.
Zafar said the special branch would issue special cards to members of mosque and imambargah committees for which complete information should be provided along with photocopies of computerised national identity cards.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2012.