Ashura procession passes peacefully

Despite enormous terror threats, the Ashura (Muharram 10) procession was taken out peacefully on Friday with thousands of mourners including women and children taking part in commemorating the sad event in which Imam Hussain (AS), his brother, children and companions were martyred.

The Muharram 10 procession was taken out from Numaish Chowrangi and culminated at Hussainian Imambargah, Kharadar after passing through its traditional routes amid tight security provided by law enforcement agencies (LEAs).

Out of the 15,000 LEAs assigned to provide security for the Ashura procession, at least 12,000 marched with the procession and cordoned the entire routes with barricades of empty containers and vehicles to counter any untoward incident. The remaining 3,000 LEAs were deployed around the surrounding areas of the precession. Besides this, Shia organisations and scout groups also deployed 5,000 volunteers to prevent any disturbance regarding the law and order situation. Entry points were also set up for participants to join the procession where they underwent physical search with detectors.

Different religious scholars including Maulana Shershah Hussain Naqvi preached the sermons about the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his 72 companions. They said Karbala became the source of guidance of all movements for independence, and added that Imam Hussain’s (AS) sacrifice preaches us many lessons, one of which is how to tackle oppression, suppression and brutality and giving priority to death in honour.

After the Muharram congregation, mourners took out the procession, passing through designated routes and culminated at Hussainian Iranian, Kharadar.

Earlier, mourners offered Zuhr prayers at Tibet centre, which was led by Maulana Ghulam Abbas Rahim. After namaz, the mourners also staged a protest demonstration against the increasing interference of United States in the internal affairs of Pakistan and also condemned the government’s acts against Imamia Students Organisation.

Tight security was seen on the procession’s route and security personnel were deployed on the rooftops of each house located on the route.

Jaferia Alliance Pakistan, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen, Passban -e-Jaferia Foundation and Pakistan People’s Party had set up their medical camps and water stalls for mourners, while Abuturab Scouts led the procession to its destination.

At least 15,000 LEAs along with 1,000 LEAs in plain cloths were deputed on the main procession of while the security agencies installed 141 surveillance cameras in order to halt any terrorist activity during the Ashura procession.

According to the police contingency plan, tight security arrangements were put in place throughout the city, while containers were put in place to seal the main procession route with bomb disposal squad on the spot and sniffer dogs continuously sweeping the area.

More than 15,000 personnel along with Rangers personnel were deployed across the city to protect the procession from any terror attack. The city was distributed into three zones, where the Rangers personnel were on duty. The main processions were monitored from the Command and Control Room through CCTV cameras by the Sindh Inspector General of Police Sultan Salahuddin Babar Khattak while smaller processions were provided security by the Rangers and police personnel.

Pillion riding has also been banned till Muharram 13 and helicopters of army and police were monitoring sensitive locations while 214 temporary check posts were also established on the route of the main procession. The Numaish intersection, the main entrance to the thoroughfare, was barricaded with containers in the late hours of Wednesday to secure the route of the Ashura processions. The mourners could enter the procession after strict checking by volunteers and police at main Numaish Chowrangi and Guru Mandir areas where heavy contingents of police along with lady police force were deployed. The police high-ups also formed a special strike force, comprising 200 personnel with senior police officers for precautionary measures. Special trained snipers were also deputed on the rooftops of different buildings. It is pertinent to mention here that the procession started from Nishtar Park, passed through its traditional route, which includes Numaish Chowrangi and reached Imam Bargah Ali Raza where Zuhr prayers were offered. Later, the procession after marching through MA Jinnah Road, Boulton Market, and Bombay Bazaar ended peacefully at the Imambargah Hussainian, Kharadar.

Around 1,476 different congregations were observed while 111 small processions were taken out from different routes of the metropolis in which large number of Rangers personnel were also deputed.

It is worth mentioning here that at least 50 mourners had lost their lives when an explosive material exploded at the central procession of Ashura last year on 2009, while the provincial home minister had also in his speech with the media informed the mourners that security forces could not provide the security of Ashura due to the bad law and order situation all over the country, but despite these facts the Ashura procession culminated peacefully. – Dailytimes