Security measures in place from today.
FAISALABAD/SIALKOT: Faisalabad’s local administration, in consultation with the Police Department, have sent the provincial government and the provincial election commissioner a formal request to deploy the army and rangers for security purposes during Ashura and local government elections.
A police spokesperson said on Sunday that they had received several applications from citizens and institutions demanding that some union councils be declared sensitive for the local government elections. Many of them had expressed concerns that majalis and processions in their areas might be targeted by terrorists, in reaction to Operation Zarb-i-Azb.
The spokesperson said the police and civil administrations had decided that it would be best to call in army and rangers to control the situation.
The police spokesperson said five superintendents, 13 deputy superintendents, 17 inspectors, 135 sub-inspectors (SIs), 402 assistant sub inspectors (ASIs), 3,105 constables/head constables and more than 1,300 volunteers would be deployed for security at Muharram processions and majalis on the fifth of Muharram (today).
He said 176 majalis and 31 processions had been planned for Monday. He said there were four majalis and two processions in Category-A, five majalis and two processions in Category-B and 167 majalis and 27 processions in Category-C.
The spokesperson said 52 majalis would be held in Jaranwala Divison, 45 in Iqbal Division, 36 in Saddar Division, 30 in Medina Division and 13 majalis would be held in Lyallpur Division. He said 12 processions would be taken out in Iqbal Division, six from Medina Division, four from Saddar Division, six from Jaranwala Division and three processions will be taken out in Lyallpur Division.
The processions will have four security cordons. Security personnel will keep a look out in two of these. Trained volunteers would frisk and identify the participants. Metal detectors and walk-through gates would also be used. He said 10 teams of the Elite Force and 10 teams of the Quick Response Force (QRF) will patrol various areas in the district to take prompt action in case of an untoward incident, the spokesman added.
Saddar Assistant Commissioner Rafia Haidar on Sunday told officials of relevant departments to ensure strict implementation of the Muharram security plan. She was chairing a meeting with officials of various departments. Haider said inspection teams had been constituted to test security gadgets and security measures at government buildings. She stressed the need to keep a check on security gadgets.
Haider told heads of public hospitals to make extensive arrangements to ensure the availability of ambulances, additional beds and necessary medical equipment. Officials of the Civil Defence Department were told to conduct surprise checks and tighten security.
In Sialkot, the district administration conducted a mock security exercise at the Mistri Abdullah Imambargah on Sunday to test preparedness in dealing with an emergency situation during Ashura. DCO Asif Tufail said he had supervised the mock exercise himself. Officials of the police, Civil Defence, Rescue-1122, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), the Health Department and other law enforcement agencies had participated in the rehearsal, Tufail said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.