9th Muharram procession end peacefully in Peshawar, KP

Salman Yousafzai

PESHAWAR: Peshawar police and security forces locked down provincial capital for all kind of vehicular traffic, shut down telecommunications and closed main markets in order to provide security to 9th Muharram rallies in Peshawar.

In Peshawar, the central procession begins from Imambargah Hussainia in Saddar and concluded at the same place after passing traditional routes in Saddar.

Processions honoring Imam Hussain (RA) and the martyrs of Karbala are being taken out across various cities in Pakistan on Saturday.

Participants of the mourning rallies and processions paid rich tributes to Imam Hussain (RA) and the martyrs who laid down their lives in the battle of Karbala. Nohas were recited and ‘Zanjeer Zani’ was conducted to mourn the sacrifices of Imam Hussain (RA).

The processions and rallies are being taken out under stringent security measures, Peshawar Police high-ups patrolling on different routes to avoid any untoward incidents.

“To avoid any untoward incidents on Yaum-e-Asur 10,000 policemen deployed in Peshawar.  Pakistan Army, Frontier Core and Frontier Constabulary assisted police in duty.

A part of manpower, pillion riding was banned, cellular service suspended across the major cities of Pakistan suffered hundreds of commuters. Major markets in Peshawar were closed.

Mobile services are suspended every year during Ashura as part of the security measures since Pakistan People Party government.

Some people also presented suggestions on social media that everyone has the right to observe their rituals but other people shouldn’t be suffering. “Rather than locking down the whole city a separate space need to be designated for processions”.

The main Grant Trunk road in Peshawar was blocked by law enforcement agencies for all traffic despite the central procession was in Saddar, says Behram Khan a resident of Peshawar. 

Meanwhile, the Media Matters for Democracy (MMD) on Saturday slammed the government for shutting down telecommunication networks across the country and urged it devise a more comprehensive plan to maintain law and order, says a statement issued MMD.

“MMD express grave concerns over these shutdowns and maintain that access to Internet and telecommunication services should be treated as a basic human right and under no circumstance should be interrupted, or controlled in any way or manner,” read a statement by the body.

“There is no empirical evidence available that network shutdowns prevent or otherwise obstruct terrorist activities. On the contrary, not being able to contact or communicate can potentially disrupt the lives of the citizens.”

“Shutdowns negatively impact a range of fundamental rights and can prove to be extremely dangerous, especially during the time when the threats are high, or in public processions, when the ability to communicate is crucial for personal safety.”

Cellular services across the country were disrupted by the government on Friday and Saturday due to security in the light of Muharram 9 and 10 processions.

Political Administration has sealed off Pak-Afghan border in Kurram Agency as part of security measures for Muharram-ul-Haram.

The administration has also banned pillion riding while security check posts have been established at all entry and exit points of the city.

In Sindh Minister for Excise and Taxation Mukesh Kumar Chawla has directed that all liquor shops will remain closed from 8 to 10th of Muharram in veneration for the holy month.