KARACHI: Law enforcement agencies are all geared up and ready for the Youm-e-Ali procession on Sunday. They are expecting to face some backlash from militants after the military operation in North Waziristan. They said strict security measure will be taken to avoid any untoward incidents.
The government has already imposed a ban on pillion riding and has said that they will suspend cellular services in the city for a day.
Law enforcers have been put on high alert and have been asked to increase operations and targeted raids against militants who might be planning to sabotage the procession.
Following these orders the Rangers conducted a targeted raid in Sultanabad, Manghopir, during which they claim to have recovered a large cache of explosives and weapons from militant hideouts. These include six suicide jackets, four improvised explosive devices, two light machineguns, five sub-machineguns, three rifles, a rocket launcher, three awan rocket launchers, three pistols, 80 awan rockets, 11 RPG rockets, 13 secondaries of RPG, three kilogrammes of ball bearings, 100 metres of prima cord, three walkie-talkies, a handcuff and 10 batteries.
"We launched a successful operation after we conducted a raid on tip-offs from arrested militants," said Rangers Sector Commander for Sacchal wing, Brig Hamid while talking to The Express Tribune. "These explosives and weapons, particularly the suicide jackets, were likely to be used to sabotage the Youm-e-Ali procession."
Rangers officials claimed that they have arrested around three suspects belonging to the Abid Mucchar group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) during raids in the last couple of days.
They said that the arrested men and weapons belonged to the Abid Mucchar group. "We even saw the stamps with Abid Mucchar's name on the recovered weapons," a Rangers official claimed.
Mucchar is a chief operational commander of the TTP in Karachi and is involved in number of bomb blasts and target killings. So far the Rangers and police have failed to arrest him.
According to the Rangers official it was now confirmed that Mucchar was in Karachi. "We have broken his group's backbone by arresting his men and recovering the explosives and weapons," said the official. "He is alone now and cannot do anything."
Security plans for Sunday
The Karachi police have designed a foolproof security plan for the Youm-e-Ali procession. There will be nearly 16,000 security officials on duty. This includes traffic police personnel who will be monitoring the procession routes in the city.
Shops will also remain closed along MA Jinnah Road where the procession will pass through. Arrangements have been finalised for the security of the main procession. Streets and roads leading to MA Jinnah Road will be blocked by barriers, containers and vehicles. Rangers, police, the bomb disposal squad, officials of the special branch and other law enforcement agencies will be deployed along the route while the procession will be monitored through close circuit cameras. Only vehicles which have a special pass issued to them will be allowed to enter the procession route.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.