Entry of 71 clerics banned in Bhakkar for 70 days starting from the first day of Muharram
BAHAWALPUR / FAISALABAD / LAHORE: Plans have been finalised in most districts to beef up security during Muharram.
In Dera Ghazi Khan, the district administration has requested the deployment of eight companies of the army and rangers, 55 platoons of the Punjab Constabulary, 30 elite commando teams, detachments of the Border Military Police and Balochistan Levies to protect Muharram processions.
The district administration has also requested the provision of 20 wireless jammers. Dera Ghazi Khan Commissioner Muhammad Yasrib said that all steps would be taken to ensure security.
“The citizens should also play their role to ensure peace. If anyone spots an abandoned bag or a suspicious person, the administration should be informed,” he said. The commissioner said that 12 sniffer dogs would also be deployed to ensure security for Muharram processions.
Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) Director General Brig (r) Dr Arshad Zia has directed the district emergency officers (DEOs) to ensure preparedness for Muharram. He has also directed them to remain on red alert on 9th and 10th of Muharram. The district Rescue 1122 offices have been issued a preparedness checklist.
The directions were issued during a meeting chaired by Zia at the Rescue 1122 Headquarters on Tuesday.
HR Deputy Director Dr Foaad Shahzad Mirza, Provincial Monitoring Officer Dr Farhan Khalid, Deputy Director Faheem Qureshi, Deputy Director Naeem Mukhtar, Head of Operations Ayaz Aslam, District Emergency Officer Dr Ahmed Raza and other Provincial Monitoring Cell officers were also present.
The meeting was informed that 7,000 emergency staff would remain on duty during Ashura. “The district offices have prepared emergency contingency plans in close coordination with district administrations. Imamia Scouts have been trained for the purpose,” the meeting was told.
Zia said that in case of an emergency during a mass gathering, most of the injuries or deaths were caused due to a stampede resulting from panic. “Therefore, each district emergency officer should review emergency plans of mass gatherings to ensure timely and safe evacuation,” he said.
He also directed the officers to review sites of Muharram gatherings with special focus on emergency exits.
In Lahore, 27 ambulances, 12 fire vehicles, four rescue vehicles, water rescue teams and rescuers on different mobile posts will be deployed to provide emergency cover to mourning processions. Additional teams shall remain on stand-by.
Seventy-one clerics have been banned from entering Bhakkar, DCO Mustajab Karamat said. He said the ban would remain in place for 70 days. He directed the authorities concerned to erase all wall chalking from public places.
“No one will be allowed to misuse loudspeakers during Muharram. The district authorities should cooperate with imam bargah managements to ensure peace and harmony,” he said.
Bahawalpur DPO Sarfraz Ahmad Falki said that 250 processions would be taken out during Muharram. “A total of 1,545 policemen, including 22 inspectors, 92 sub inspectors, 126 assistant sub-inspectors, 1,298 head constables, will be deployed for security,” he said.
“Police officers should perform their duties vigilantly,” he said.
Falki said that a central control room had been established to monitor the situation throughout Ashura.
DCO Imran Sikandar Baloch said that people from all religions and sects should help maintain an environment of peace and harmony. “No religious gathering should be organised in violation of the code of conduct notified by the government,” he said.
He was addressing a meeting for sectarian peace. Baloch said that routes and schedules of the processions and gatherings should be followed strictly.
The city traffic police have finalised a traffic plan for Muharram. They have deputed 780 traffic wardens, 99 constables, 34 traffic inspectors and four DSPs to manage traffic during Muharram processions.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.