Thousands of mourners swarmed the city’s roads on Saturday to take part in the Muharram 9 processions, undeterred by looming terrorist threats and a bomb blast in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where at least seven people were killed.
“No terrorists can deter us – even with bombs,” Abbas Ali Shah, a young mourner, told The Express Tribune. “The spate of terrorist attacks has made us stronger. The more the terrorists strike, the more resilient we will be become.”
Ali Haider, who was attending the procession with his wife and children, told The Express Tribune that terrorists’ threats would not deter his family. “A blast happened in the country on the same day (Saturday) and we still came.”
Under tight security, the main procession began from Nishter Park and marched towards Hussainian Iranian imambargah in Kharadar. The mourners passed through Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto Road, MA Jinnah Road, Preedy Street and Bombay Bazaar. Law enforcers perched on rooftops watched the crowd closely from above, ready to swoop in.
Several small processions, which originated from various parts of the city, joined the central one at Nishter Park, where a grand majlis was held at noon. Maulana Syed Shehenshah Hussain Naqvi shed light on the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions at Karbala. He also criticised the government and said it has failed to protect the lives of innocent citizens as more than 450 members of the sect had been killed in different parts of the country this year.
After the majlis, the mourners marched to Imambargah Ali Raza, Numaish Chowrangi, where hundreds of mourners performed Namaz-e-Zohrain.
The provincial government had tried to provide foolproof security to the processions and imambargahs. Over 30,000 law enforcers, including police and paramilitary forces, had been deployed along the route of major processions. The gatherings were also being monitored through aerial surveillance and close circuit as well as mobile cameras.
Law enforcers were deployed outside mosques and imambargahs and other sensitive areas and the routes of the main procession had been sealed.
Law enforcement agencies had amplified security to ensure mourners’ safety. Law enforcers and scouts also used scanners at the entrance of the procession to check for concealed weapons. Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan has asked Karachi Electric Supply Corporation’s (KESC) management to ensure that there is no load-shedding on Ashura.
Apart from 11,000 policemen in Sukkur, Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze and Ghotki, about 1,000 Rangers personnel were also patrolling the streets. Control rooms to monitor the Muharram processions have been set up in the offices of DIGs and SSPs in all four districts. Besides law enforcers, a large number of Hussaini and Haideri scouts have been deployed at Imambargahs and along all processions’ routes.
About 1,524 policemen and 200 Rangers have been deployed in Shikarpur. Around 36 police mobiles are out on the streets. As many as 20 sensitive areas have been identified in Shikarpur where and a large contingent of law enforcers have been deployed. Special police squads are also on standby at the Madadgar police centre on Hazari Gate Road.
On Ashura, 16 processions will be organised at 16 imambargahs in city and 21 more in other parts of Shikarpur.
Tight security measures have also been deployed in other cities and towns of upper Sindh, including Mirpur Mathelo, Daharki, Ubauro, Shikarpur and Jacobabad.
With input from PPI
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2012.