Ashura security: Main roads blocked

All main roads and arteries leading to the route of Ashura processions blocked with barricades and barbed wires.

Rameez Khan December 17, 2010

LAHORE: All main roads and arteries leading to the route of Ashura processions were blocked with barricades and barbed wires on Thursday.

Snipers were seen on roof tops of high rise buildings along the routes while helicopters monitored the routes. 135 Elite Force personnel were on duty on Thursday and the Mujahid Squad personnel spent the day patrolling around the city.

The tight security arrangements come after multiple terror threats to Muharram processions.SP (Security), Faisal Rana, told The Express Tribune said that Rangers and Mujahid Squad were patrolling the city while the Quick Response Force (QRF), the Elite Force and other police personnel were stationed on ground.

He added that more than 137 cameras and two helicopters were also being used to monitor the processions.

“The snipers deployed on roof tops have been instructed to remain in contact with the officers on ground,” the SP said.

Denying reports of terrorists being arrested, Rana said that the police had taken into custody several suspects who were being interrogated. “It will be premature to label them terrorists,” he said.

Media reports on Thursday had suggested that at least two Afghans carrying explosives had been arrested.

Muntazir Mehdi, SP of Mujahid Squad told the Tribune that 300 reserve police personnel were also deployed apart from the regular squad.

According to both police officers, the ban on pillion riding was enforced strictly, however, families were exempted.

“We arrested a lot of young men found flouting the ban,” Rana said, adding, “The only reason families were pulled over was to inform them about the ban.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2010.


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