Muharram 9 mourning processions are being taken out countrywide amid strict security arrangements, with mobile phone services suspended in some areas under a comprehensive security plan devised by law enforcement agencies to prevent any untoward incident.
The Sindh government last week imposed a ban on the use of helicams or drones for video recording by media channels during processions and majalis from Muharram 8 (Aug 7) to 10 (Aug 9).
Similarly, the administration in Islamabad has imposed an emergency in all hospitals of the capital whereas 2,200 police officials have been deployed during today’s procession.
Peshawar police have cited serious security threats to processions. However, they said all-out measures to ensure complete security cover to the procession have been taken.
The main procession in the metropolis commenced from Nishtar Park this noon, will go through Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khorasan and end at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar.
According to a Sindh police spokesperson, as many as 5,313 policemen have been deployed for security and monitoring of the main routes of the central procession.
Snipers of the Special Security Unit have also been deployed along procession routes.
The spokesperson added that 1,000 traffic policemen had been deputed to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on alternative routes/roads.
The Sindh Police also urged citizens to keep a strict vigil on suspicious people and inform the police through its helpline in case of any emergency.
The main procession in Lahore commenced from Pando Street, Islampura, and will culminate at the same street after passing through the designated route.
The procession reached its first destination at Siraj Building Chowk via Alamgir Road where mourners performed Zuhr prayers.
Afterwards, the procession will pass through Islampura’s main market, Neli Bar Chowk and Civil Secretariat before reaching Old Anarkali in the evening where the mourners will make a brief stopover to perform Maghrib prayers.
The procession will culminate at Pando Street at around midnight after going through designated routes.
The main procession of Muharram 9 in Quetta emerged from Imambargah Nasirul Aza after Zuhr prayer and will end at the same venue after passing through its traditional routes.
DIG Police Quetta Fida Hussain Shah told a press conference earlier in the day that there were a total of 57 imambargahs in the city, of which 24 were highly sensitive and 23 were sensitive.
More than 5,000 police and FC personnel have been deployed in the city, while business centers located along procession routes will remain shut on Muharram 9 and 10.
The senior officer said cellular services will also remain suspended from 6am to 12pm in various areas.
The main procession in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital emerged from Imambargah Hussainia Hall at 10am and the mourners briefly stopped in the Kali Bari area to perform Zuhr prayers.
The procession will pass through its traditional routes and culminate at Imambargah Hussainia.
SSP Operations Peshawar, Kashif Aftab Abbasi, said there were strong security threats at procession routes, adding that the police had adopted comprehensive measures to guard mourners.
More than 11,000 police officers have been deployed across the city, he said in a statement.
He said over 1,000 personnel had been stationed at the city’s Saddar area alone for the procession’s security today.
Islamabad Capital Police Chief Dr Akbar Nasir Khan said the central control room for monitoring processions had been established at the Safe City Islamabad.
He said cellular services will remain suspended in some areas due to security reasons.
Strict vigilance should be maintained to ensure that security measures are in place by the police and standard operating procedures issued by the government are being followed, the IGP said, adding that the bomb disposal squad would conduct checking of routes through robots and modern technology while entry of participants in the procession would be ensured only after complete checking.