With a number of demonstrations planned for Friday (today) by various religious groups to protest the November 15 clashes, the provincial government has decided to deploy army personnel at sensitive sites of the garrison city to assist Rangers and the police to avoid any untoward incident.
Sectarian clashes broke out in the city on 10th of Ashura in which more than 11 people were killed and over 80 injured.
The decision to put boots on the ground in sensitive areas was taken in a meeting attended by civil, military and other officials of the law enforcement agencies.
A senior police official told The Express Tribune that the army will remain present at the site where the incident had taken place besides other sensitive areas. According to the official, extra security would be deployed outside 32 mosques and imambarghs.
“There would be complete ban on the use of loudspeakers, especially for Friday sermons,” he added.
16 suspected rioters arrested
Speaking at a press conference at the Punjab House, Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed that law enforcement agencies have arrested 16 suspects out of 28 after they were identified through video footage obtained from the police special branch, CCTV cameras and TV channels. He said that the fact-finding committee (FCC) is already investigating the matter and the arrested men were being interrogated.
Sanaullah said the police officials responsible for the misadventure have been removed on the recommendation of the FFC inquiry report in a bid to make the accountability process fair and impartial.
The minister said a total of 11 people were killed in the incident and 56 were injured. He said 12 injured were still under treatment at different hospitals and two were in critical condition. Answering a question, Sanaullah said that the government has earmarked Rs240 million for the reconstruction of damaged mosques, the seminary and the cloth market, the construction contract for which would be given to the Frontier Works Organisation.
Commission members visit site
Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, who leads the judicial inquiry commission, also visited the mosque and cloth market in Raja Bazar on Thursday, where he was briefed by City Police Officer Akhtar Umar Hayat Laleka. Justice Sheikh also talked to people in the market. Later, he also visited different hospitals and spoke to the injured for their input.
Security arrangements in federal capital
The Islamabad Capital Territory administration has decided to seal the ‘Red Zone’ and bar protesters from assembling at D-Chowk.
A spokesperson for the Islamabad Police said peaceful protests would only be allowed at China Chowk. He said that police would be deployed around the city including entry and exit points and Rangers will remain on standby in case of an emergency.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2013.
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