KARACHI: In light of intelligence reports that terrorists could use ambulances and fire brigade vehicles to sneak in attacks on Muharram processions, the Karachi police have specified routes for these rescue services.
Chief of police Fayyaz Leghari briefed the media about the preparations for the particularly sensitive dates of 8th, 9th and 10th Muharram next week at the Garden Police Headquarters on Sunday.
As many as 5,700 policemen have been tasked with protecting the main mourning processions and gatherings.
“In addition to the police, Rangers personnel will also provide security and they have good coordination,” he said. One thousand commandos from the Special Protection Group, personnel from the police’s special branch, the Crime Investigation Department, Special Investigation Unit, traffic police and other agencies will also be on duty for the main processions.
To a question, he said that there has been intelligence sharing and some suspects have been detained. Talking about the checking of the routes of the main processions, the chief of police said that they would first be swept by the bomb disposal squad.
The police also have changed the security plans for hospitals and the Rangers will be on duty to protect them if there is an attack. The police came up with this plan after learning its lesson with the Jinnah hospital fiasco. A bomb planted in a monitor went off in its accident and emergency department as its staff tended to the victims being brought in from an earlier bomb blast.
The traffic police will also issue alternative routes for Muharram 8, 9 and 10. Closed-circuit television cameras have been installed along the routes of the main procession and law-enforcement personnel will be conducting aerial surveillance with the helicopters belonging to the chief minister and Rangers.
No participants for any procession will be allowed if they do not have the stickers. Three walkthrough gates will be set up for the entrance and exits of the main procession. The DIG South will be supervising the security arrangements and eight superintendents of police will work under him. All markets will remain closed from Muharram 8 to 10 and snipers will be deployed on rooftops.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2010.
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