All set to observe ‘Ashura’ amid tight security

RAWALPINDI (APP): All is set to observe ‘Ashura’ here on Thursday with religious fervor and reverence to observe the supreme sacrifices rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions for the cause of Islam while over 7000 cops would guard 64 mourning processions and 113 majalis of the district.
The district administration and law enforcers have finalized all necessary arrangements to facilitate the mourners. Rawalpindi District Police, City Traffic Police (CTP) and Rescue-1122 Rawalpindi have finalized all the arrangements for ‘Youm-e-Ashura.’
Six main processions of Zuljanah, Alam and Tazia would be taken out on Ashura from different areas of the city. All processions would culminate at 10:00 p.m. at Imambargah Qadimi. Clerics and religious scholars would highlight the teachings of Imam Hussain (RA) and various aspects of the tragedy.
According to City Police Officer (CPO) Muhammad Ahsan Younas, the Police had finalized elaborate security arrangements for peaceful passage of ‘Ashura’ and avoid any untoward incident.
Two companies of Army and Rangers each would also be available for 10th Muharram security, he informed.
In view of the terrorism threat, special security arrangements were finalized for Muharram ul Harram in the district as it’s a sensitive area, he said adding, three-layer security cover would be provided particularly to the main Muharram processions with special arrangements ensuring rooftop duty, deployment of Quick Response Force (QRF) and arranging evacuation roads to give rapid response in case of any emergency.
The foolproof security arrangements had been finalized for main 10th Muharram procession of city which starts from Satellite Town and culminates at Imam Bargah Qadeemi. Over 2500 security personnel would be deployed to guard the main procession while 4500 cops would provide security cover to other processions and majalis of the district.
No person would be allowed to carry weapon in Muharram procession except designated police officers, he said.
Police would not allow anybody to organize a new Muharram procession and on SOPs violation strict action would be taken against the violators, CPO added. A special 24/7 control room had also been set up in his office, he said.
He said strict monitoring of Ashura processions would be conducted as Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras had been installed at routes of main Zuljinnah processions and places where majalis would be held. He said special contingents of commandos and police officials would also be deployed on 109 trouble points.
According to the security plan formulated in this regard, aerial surveillance of ‘Ashura’ processions would also be conducted to ensure security of the mourners. Additional force of Special Branch Police, Elite Force, Punjab Constabulary, Women Police along with district police would be deployed to ensure security on 10th of Muharram.
Special checking of the routes would be carried out before start of the processions and bomb disposal squad would clear the routes. The mourners would be checked with metal detectors and walk through gates would be installed at the entry points of the processions.
The route of the main procession of ‘Ashura’ would be sealed completely and streets on the route would be barricaded. Vehicles and motorcycles would not be allowed to move with the mourning processions.
Some 79 processions and 206 Majalis were also held on 9th of Muharram ul Harram in Rawalpindi district which were provided tight security cover by over 6000 cops.
51 processions and 185 majalis were also organized on 7th Muharram while over 6000 cops were deployed to ensure security.
According to City Traffic Officer (CTO) Rai Mazhar Iqbal, the traffic would be diverted on 48 different routes of the city on ‘Ashura’.
786 Traffic Wardens under the supervision of 40 Inspectors and nine DSPs of the city traffic police would be deployed on city roads. As part of the security measures, entry of vehicular traffic from Committee Chowk to Iqbal Road would strictly be banned on 10th Muharram.
No vehicle would be allowed on DAV college road and Iqbal road. The public transport for City Saddar Road would be diverted to Mohanpura road and traffic from Novelty cinema would reach Pirwadhai through Kashmiri bazaar. Traffic coming from Gunjmandi would be diverted to TB hospital, Pirwadhai and Dhoke Dalal.
According to District Emergency Officer, Rescue 1122, more than 500 rescuers would remain on special duties in Rawalpindi district control room, emergency rescue stations with fully equipped emergency ambulances, fire vehicles, special vehicles and water bowzers.
20 mobile rescue teams would move with Ashura processions. A comprehensive plan has been formulated to provide first aid and on the spot pre-hospital medical care to the mourners while serious persons would be shifted to nearby hospitals.
He urged the mourners, volunteers and custodians of Imambargahs to cooperate with Rescue-1122 staff. Emergency officers including trained doctors would supervise the arrangements. District Control Room would also be functional round the clock for provision of effective emergency services to the public and leaves of the rescuers have been restricted in this regard, he informed.
He appealed to the motorists to give way to the ambulances and fire vehicles and advised the citizens to dial 1122 in case of any emergency.
Nearly 300 volunteers of Civil Defence would also perform duties on 10th Muharram, said District Officer Civil Defence.
RCB had also finalized arrangements for 9th and 10th Muharram besides completing patchwork at the routes of mourning processions, repairing roads, street lights and removal of encroachments.