BAHAWALPUR: “Security arrangements for Muharram have been finalized in Bahawalpur. However, the threat from the terrorists remains and the law enforcement agencies have been directed to stay alert,” Senator Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa said on Sunday.
He was addressing a meeting with administrative officials at the Circuit House as a convener of the cabinet committee constituted by the chief minister.
Khosa said police have been directed to closely monitor entrances to the city. He said special check will be kept on hotels and rented houses.
He asked the administrative officials concerned to ensure that metal detectors and walks-through gates were installed at the start of all processions in the division. He said police will also inspect roofs and shops during the processions.
Khosa said monitoring the movement of trouble makers from other districts was crucial. He said those violating the Amplifier Act would be punished. Khosa also announced a ban on pillion riding in the district.
Inspector General Habibur Rehman said that those visiting madarassas will be monitored closely.
He also announced that action would be taken against those giving speeches containing hate material or provoking sectarian violence.
He said off days and leaves of policemen had been cancelled so that they could perform their duties at the processions.
Provincial Minister Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channar said that Bahawalpur was a peaceful city and the government wanted to maintain the peace in the division. He suggested that police should make video recordings of all procession.
Commissioner Muhammad Khan Khichi said that 106 places in the division had been declared sensitive. He said 200 people had been prohibited from entering various cities of the district including Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan. These include clerics and zakirs, he said.
He said that Muharram control rooms had been set up and a peace committee comprising scholars and members of the civil society constituted.
Regional Police Officer Rao Sardar Ali said that 513 processions will be held in the Bahawalpur division and some 1,392 gatherings will be organised. He said Pakistan Army and Rangers have been requested to assist the police in providing security.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2012.