KARACHI: The central procession to mark the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (RA) culminated peacefully at Imambargah Hussainian Iranian, Kharadar, amid tight security, on Sunday.
Several smaller processions, which had originated from different parts of the city, converged at Nishtar Park into the central procession where noted scholar, Allama Talib Jauhri, addressed the participants.
In his address, Allama Jauhri highlighted various noble aspects of the life of Hazrat Ali (RA). He said that Hazrat Ali (RA) was brought up under the shadow of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) which is why he is considered a treasurer of knowledge and symbol of tolerance, bravery, generosity and eloquence even today. The scholar stressed that Hazrat Ali (RA) had played an exemplary role in serving Islam and bravely confronted the enemies of religion and Sharia, while shattering the foundations of oppression, brutality and suppression till his martyrdom.
After the majlis, the procession set off from Nishtar Park under the leadership of the Abu-Turab Scouts. It passed through MA Jinnah Road where mourners offered their Zuhr prayers. The arrangements for the prayers were organised by the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO).
After the prayers, the mourners staged a demonstration, led by ISO.
The ISO leaders condemned Israel’s aggression in Gaza and also criticised Muslim countries for keeping mum over the issue. They stressed the need to unite against Israel’s brutality and to try to counter it by providing relief to those affected by the atrocities. The speakers also demanded the United Nations as well as human rights organisations to play their role to stop the brutalities against Muslims. The procession restarted from MA Jinnah Road and made its way towards the traditional destination, passing through Empress Market, Regal Chowk, Preedy Street and Kharadar before ending peacefully at Imambargah Hussainian Iranian.
Thousands of volunteers, who were deployed for the security of the procession, cordoned off the entire route with the help of police and Rangers personnel. The city police claimed to have made foolproof security arrangements for the safety of the mourners along the route of the procession. In addition to the volunteers, around 16,000 law enforcement personnel were deployed to provide security on the occasion.
All streets and alleyways adjoining the main MA Jinnah Road were sealed to prohibit entry of irrelevant persons and vehicles, while all nearby markets remained closed on the directions of the provincial government.
Apart from the religious organisations, including the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, ISO and Shia Ulema Council, several civic bodies such as the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation had set up first-aid medical camps at different spots along MA Jinnah Road to facilitate the mourners.
After Zuhr, the procession halted for at least two hours as families of the victims of target killings and those who were in custody of law enforcers staged a sit-in on MA Jinnah Road.
The families were demanding that the target killers who killed their loved ones be arrested and punished. Additionally, the families of the arrested members of the Shia community also staged a sit-in and demanded the authorities to release them. Government and police officials, present at the site assured them of full cooperation.
“After our assurances, the procession resumed marching towards its destination,” Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui told The Express Tribune. The families of the victims and detainees, however, remained to protest on MA Jinnah Road.
Old City SSP Sheeraz Nazeer expressed gratitude for the fact that the procession ended peacefully. “All credit goes to the police and the government for the successful completion of the procession,” he said, adding that strict security arrangements had been made to ensure the day ended peacefully.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2014.