Rawalpindi tragedy mars otherwise peaceful Ashura

Eight people were reported dead in Rawalpindi chaos.


Afp/web Desk November 15, 2013
Pakistani rescuers and security personnel gather in front of a burning market after sectarian clashes near a mosque during the Shia procession in Rawalpindi on November 15, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Thanks to extraordinary security measures by law enforcing authorities, Ashura concluded incident free in most parts of Pakistan, though sectarian clashes in Rawalpindi overshadowed the peacefulness as an angry mob rioted against the police during a procession in the city.

The chaos began around 3:00pm in the afternoon, when a group of men reportedly snatched guns from the police and began firing at them. Meanwhile, unknown men put a portion of the Raja Bazaar and a mosque on fire.

The incident and subsequent clashes resulted in the deaths of at least eight people and injured over 80 people. A large number of shops were also gutted.

In other parts of the country, though, the government's promise of 'foolproof security' seemed to come good. In Karachi, police arrested several suspected militants while in Lahore, a host of security cameras were at work on preventing terrorist activity.

At the end of the day, Imran Khan and Sharjeel Memon tweeted congratulating K-P and Sindh respectively on a peaceful Ashura.

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12:40am

Authorities have imposed a curfew in parts of Rawalpindi.

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12:15am

In the aftermath of the Pindi tragedy, security has been put on a high alert in Lahore.

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11:50pm

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority restores cellular services in Lahore.

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11:00pm

PTI chief Imran Khan and Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon congratulated the authorities and security forces in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and Sindh respectively for a peaceful, terror-free Ashura in the two provinces.





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10:50pm

Sindh government extends ban on pillion riding by two more days.

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10:45pm

Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has condemned the Rawalpindi riots and expressed sorrow at the eight deaths.

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10:35pm

The entire city police has been summoned to Fawara Chowk in Rawalpindi.

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10:20pm



10:15pm

Reports indicate a mosque was burned down in Rawalpindi. The flames have now been extinguished.

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10:10pm

ISPR's Asim Bajwa commends forces for a peaceful Ashura.



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10:00pm

Rawalpindi death toll rises to eight, number of people injured reported to be over 80.

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9:45pm





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9:40pm





https://twitter.com/EdhiAbdulSattar/status/401388545668939776

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9:30pm

Cellular services have been partially restored in many cities. They will be restored in K-P by 10pm, and in Lahore by midnight.

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8:45pm

Over 50 reported injured in Rawalpindi. The injured are being taken to the District Headquarters Hospital.

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8:15pm

Seven people have been reported dead and over 20 injured from sectarian clashes between Shia and Sunni groups in Rawalpindi.

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8:00pm

Express News correspondent Adnan Mukhtar reported that although a hoarde of fire brigades have arrived at the site, the flames are yet to be completely dowsed.

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7:30pm

Three people have been reported dead from clashes at Fawara Chowk near Raja Bazaar in Rawalpindi.

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6:35pm

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah says 80% of Muharram processions in Punjab were conducted peacefully.

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6: 29pm

As fire engulfs part of the cloth market Raja Bazaar in Rawalpindi, Express News correspondent Imran Asghar reported that at least six troops from the Pakistan Army have been called in to control the situation. Security and rescue services are at work alike.

Firing has now stopped, but the fire is yet to be completely extinguished.

No injuries have been reported as yet.

6:23pm

Pakistani journalists tweet about the law and order situation in Rawalpindi.


https://twitter.com/ajmaljami/status/401325034674733057
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5:58pm

After firing took place at an Ashura procession in Raja Bazar, Rawalpindi, an angry mob turned against the police. The situation soon got out of hand and the army was called in, Express News reported.

Political leaders from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other parties are currently holding a meeting with security officials at the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) building to come up with a solution for the law and order problem.

6000 police personnel are on duty in Rawalpindi to ensure security for the procession moving from the Aashiq-e-Hussain Imambargah. Medical camps have been set up along the route as well.

Screengrabs of escalating violence at Raja Bazar, Rawalpindi:



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5:20pm

In Sukkur, large crowds are out as part of the processions. The procession is expected to end around 10pm. At least 3,000 policemen and 2,000 rangers are present, along with a bomb disposal squad.

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5:10pm

Karachi police say they have arrested a number of suspects, but have not released any additional information.

Express News says a 'complete shield' has been formed for the Karachi procession. Security will be provided to the procession as it heads back.

In Lahore, thousands of cameras are operating to prevent any untoward incident. Both static and mobile cameras are being used to broadcast live footage to security officials. The Lahore procession is expected to culminate at 6pm. At least 20,000 security officials are on-ground right now.

In Gujranwala, police officials have also arrested one suspect.

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5:00pm

Many politicians tweeted as they observed the Ashura.



MQM leaders also attended Ashura processions in Karachi.



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3:22pm

CNBC Pakistan reports that unidentified armed men opened fire near main Muharram procession at Fawara Chowk of Raja Bazar, Rawalpindi.

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3:20pm

The entry and exit points in the way of Karachi’s main procession have been sealed, while aerial monitoring has been done as well to ensure fool proof security.

The procession is still at the Tibet Centre.



An aerial view of Karachi's main procession

In Rawalpindi, the main procession is on its way to the culmination point as scheduled under tight security. Many have expressed satisfaction over the security measures taken by the government.

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2:40pm





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2:03pm

Lahore’s main Zuljinnah procession, which was taken out at midnight, started at Nisar Haveli and will terminate at the Karbala Gamay Shah this evening.

In Karachi, around 700 large and small processions have been taken out throughout the city. The main procession has been taken out from Nishtar Park, near Soldier Bazaar.

In Quetta, the main procession will be taken out from the Imambargah on Alamdar road, terminating at the same point.

Peshawar’s main procession will be taken out after Zuhr prayers from the Imambargah in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area and will terminate at the same point.

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1:08pm

The main procession in Karachi has reached Tibet Centre where the gatherers are performing the Zuhrain prayers.

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1:00pm






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12:30pm

Security in Karachi is being monitored from Hassan Square and Nishtar Park by around 200 cameras placed throughout the city. The East SSP Syed Pir Muhammad Shah said that full proof security was organized for processionists.



A security personnel checking a processionist on Muharram 9 at Sector G-6/2 on Thursday. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS



People take part in a procession held on Muharram 9 to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) in Sector G-6/2 of Islamabad. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS



People take part in a procession in Sector G-6/2 of the federal capital. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS



Security forces have taken extraordinary measures to quell terror threats. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK



PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK



PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK

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12:00pm

Mobile services have been suspended in parts of Pakistan on account of Muharram 10, while strict security measures are put in place to ensure safety of the people attending Ashura processions.

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11:50am

A hand grenade exploded near Zainul Abideen Imambargah in North Nazimabad, Karachi injuring three policemen who were sent to a hospital for treatment.

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Muharram 9

Yesterday, police foiled major terrorist activity by killing six alleged terrorists of the banned religious outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

LeJ’s Karachi chapter chief of the Asif Chohtu group, Gul Hasan, and two alleged suicide bombers, Muhammad Arif alias Salahuddin alias Mairaj alias Javed Chashma and Naveed Baloch alias Chohta, were among the suspects killed in an encounter with the officials of the Anti-Extremist Cell (AEC) of the Crime Investigation Department.

On the same day, an attack on a police armored van near the Zainul Abideen Imambargah had injured a police official. Unknown armed assailants had hurled a small Improvised Explosive Device (IED) from the Naagan roundabout flyover and it landed on top of a police van.

At the time of the explosion, a congregation was underway at the Imambargah. Firing was also reported immediately after the blast.

Muharram 8

On Wednesday, at least 12 people including law enforcers and media personnel got injuredin bomb blasts and a grenade attack outside two imambargahs in Karachi.

The bomb blasts took place outside an imambargah in the city’s North Nazimabad locality where a gathering of mourners had concluded an hour ago.

View our slideshows of Muharram here:

Ashura around the world

Remembering the sacrifices of Karbala martyrs

COMMENTS (55)

Mehwish | 9 years ago | Reply

I really condemn this attack.Islam is the religion of peace and love.So being a Muslim we should all spread love and prosperity in our country.

truthbetold | 9 years ago | Reply

@Syed:

"sorry Mariam, public procession won’t end. No matter how hard some people try. Shias are more secure and able to enjoy religious freedom in the West compare to Pakistan and ME. reason is yahan per insaan ke bachay hain."

Shias have no problems in India also to practice their faith in peace.

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