Members of the Punjab Cabinet Committee for Law and Order, headed by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, visited Faisalabad on Thursday to review security arrangements for Muharram.
The committee members including Home Secretary Major (r) Azam Suleman, IG Mushtaq Sukhera, Special Branch Additional IG Faisal Shahkar and former-IG Rana Maqbool met with prominent religious leaders in Faisalabad Division at Circuit House. The religious leaders included Mufti Zia Madni, Maulana Naseerud Din Naseer, Mukhtar Gondal, Maulana Abdul Waris, Maulana Muhammad Yousaf Anwar, Maulan Riaz Kharal, Maulana Muhammad Hafeez Khan, Qazi Gulam Murtaza, Muhammad Jafar Naqvi and Jameel Fakhri.
Sanaullah lauded the religious leaders for their efforts in maintaining religious harmony. “However, we need to be vigilant during the month of Muharramul Harram especially since security threats have increased in the wake of Operation Zarb-i-Azb.”
He urged religious leaders, scholars and clerics to unite. Sanaullah asked them to stress religious fraternity and national solidarity in their sermons. “We can only hope to thwart the nefarious designs of enemies of the state if we join hands.”
He welcomed suggestions from religious leaders on strengthening security arrangements for the upcoming holy month. “We have mobilised the necessary resources for this purpose and you have our complete support,” he told the religious leaders.
The ban on use of loudspeakers for other than prayers has helped curb hate speech, he said. “This ban has been enforced successfully with the cooperation of religious leaders and clerics.” He said the mobility of “fire-brand speakers” would be curtailed to avoid any religious disturbance.
The law minister said peace committees should stay active and any religious disputes should be resolved amicably before the advent of Muharramul Haram.
The religious leaders assured the committee of their cooperation in this regard. They said maintaining peace during Muharramul Haram was a priority for them and would not allow anyone to create disorder.
They also presented several suggestions for Muharram security arrangements.
The Cabinet Committee was briefed on security arrangements for Muharram in Faisalabad at another meeting.
Divisional Commissioner Capt (r) Nasim Nawaz and RPO Ehsan Tufail gave the committee a multimedia presentation regarding Muharram security arrangements.
Lawmakers Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Col Ghulam Rasul Sahi, Madiha Rana, Dr Najma Afzal, Haji Khalid Saeed, Mian Tahir Jamil, Chaudhry Faqir Hussain Dogar, Rao Kashif Rahim, and Mian Rafiq Ahmad, and the DCOs, the CPO, and DPOs of four districts of Faisalabad division were present at the meeting.
Sanaullah directed the divisional and district administrations to devise a comprehensive strategy for Muharramul Haram. He said that no angle regarding security would be neglected.
Special committees comprising member of peace committees and officers of the district administration should be deployed at trouble spots, Sanaullah said. “Any violation of the schedule for processions and use of loudspeakers should be reported and comprehensive arrangements should be made keeping in view the experience of past years.”
He said the Muharram security plan should be implemented in letter and spirit and peace committees should remain active. “Lawmakers should be a part of Muharram security arrangements so that peace and harmony can be ensured with their assistance and guidance.”
He said volunteers should be trained regarding security matters and should be issued identification cards after verification of their antecedents from the Special Branch.
Home Secretary Azam Suleman stressed early installation of security gadgets and surveillance cameras at vulnerable points. He also issued directions regarding Muharram Control Rooms at the divisional and district levels. “Sites for majalis and mourning processions must be well lit.”
Members of parliament also gave proposals for a coordinated strategy for Muharram security.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2015.