LAHORE: Lahore saw a peaceful Eid this year as threats of terrorism did not materialise.
The police claim that it is their vigilance and security plan which ensured peace in the city.
The city, in the last couple of months, had seen suicide attacks at the Data Darbar and at a mourning procession near Karbala Gamey Shah. The citizens had been issued warnings that Eid days could be potentially threatening. According to three intelligence reports, there were plans to target the worship places of Brailvis, Shias and Ahmadis during Eid prayers.
Terrorists had, allegedly, left messages threatening attacks in some busy markets on Chand Raat.
The City District Government had advised citizens and prayer organisers to avoid open spaces because of terrorist threats.
However, no attack materialised and Eid was celebrated without a glitch.
Ashfaq Ahmed, a shopkeeper at Vindala Road Bazaar at Shahdara, said that shopkeepers of the bazaar remained in constant fear of a terrorist attack after a message left by extremists. He said that they had received a plain piece of paper ostensibly from terrorists threatening that unless shops were closed on Chand Raat the bazaar would be attacked. He said that the reason the ‘terrorists’ gave for their demand was that Chand Raat gave men and women the opportunity to mingle on the streets while shopping.
Ahmed said that though a few shops did close down for Chand Raat, most shops had no choice but to remain open.
City Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Aslam Tareen said on Monday that the vigilance of police personnel had paid off and with the grace of Allah the Eid celebrations were observed peacefully. He said the credit was due to the police officers who spent their Eid day performing security duties.
Personnel of Pakistan Rangers also had been marching on roads on Eid to ward off any untoward incident.
The city police had drawn three different security plans, one each for Chand Raat, Eid day and Taru (the day after Eid). More than 7,400 police personnel patrolled mosques, imambargahs, commercial markets, bazaars and shopping plazas on Chand Raat.
For Eid day, 8,700 police officers were deployed at mosques, Eid Gahs and imambargahs where Eid prayers were offered. On Taru about 4,500 police personnel were deployed around the city. CCPO Tareen said that the all-out effort of the police should re-assure the citizens. He also praised traffic wardens who spent Eid day on roads managing the flow of traffic. He said that the police would continue to remain on high alert and hoped that citizens would continue to cooperate with the police in curbing terrorist elements.
He said that the citizens should inform the city police at 15 and Qurban Control at 99200269 and Traffic Control at 99201910 whenever they had information about anything suspicious.
Muhammad Wasim Zaki, who used to say Eid prayers at the Minar-i-Pakistan ground, told The Express Tribune he had been too fearful despite the security promised by police to join the congregation. He said that after the spate of attacks Lahore has seen, he had also come to the conclusion that terrorists had no religion.
This year, Zaki said, his children offered prayers at the Minar-i-Pakistan ground without him.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2010.
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