Rawalpindi Police has finalised security and traffic arrangements for Youm-e-Ali which will be observed today.
Processions commemorating the death anniversary of Hazrat Ali (RA) will be taken out from New Town, Waris Khan, City, Civil Lines, Cantt, Saddar, Kahuta, Gujar Khan, Murree and Taxila circles.
Rawalpindi City Police Officer Hamayoun Bashir Tarar has ordered foolproof security for the processions, which will be accompanied by policemen and officials of other law-enforcement agencies.
Police have also been deployed at all imambargahs in the garrison city, which witnessed violent clashes last month during Ashura. Police say unidentified persons will not be allowed to enter the processions.
The traffic police have imposed a complete ban on parking any vehicles or handcarts on the routes of the processions and near imambarghas.
Rawalpindi is among the eight districts in Punjab that have been declared sensitive with regards to Youm-e-Ali.
The district administration has also set up a control room to monitor the processions.
Rawalpindi City Traffic Police has announced routes of the processions and alternate routes for traffic. Traffic will be diverted from Saddar, Mochi Bazaar, City Police Station, DAV College Chowk, Alam Khan Road, Imambargah Chowk and Committee Chowk to accommodate and ensure security of the processions.
Traffic wardens have been directed to ensure parking at a distance of 200 meters from the route of the procession and imambarghas and residents can call the traffic police helpline at 1915 to get route updates.
Meanwhile, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) has announced to take out a procession on Sunday from Aabpara. ASWJ Islamabad President Ghulam Mustafa Baloch said the party will hold a seminar at Masjid Rehmania at 3pm on Sunday. “Later, a Youm-e-Ali procession will be taken out from the mosque,” he said. Baloch decried the recent targeted killings of ASWJ workers in the capital and demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators.
On Saturday night, the main Youm-e-Ali procession in Rawalpindi was taken out from Mohanpura. Passing through Kashmiri Bazar, Fawara Chowk, Iqbal Road and Naya Mohalla, the procession was planned to culminate at Col Maqbool Hussain Imambargah at sehri on Sunday.
Also on Saturday, a procession was taken out at the Sector G-6/4 imambargah in Islamabad. The procession progressed amid tight security, with all roads leading to the sector cordoned off. The procession culminated peacefully after passing through the predefined route back at the imambargah.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.
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