Islamabad/Rawalpindi: Despite threats of violence, processions of 9th Muharram were taken out amid tight security on Monday in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad with religious zeal and fervour in a peaceful atmosphere.
Tight security measures were adopted in and around the Imambargah Markazia, G-6/2, and allocated routes for the mourning procession in Rawalpindi as well. No untoward incident was reported during the Majlis and mourning procession till the filing of this report in the twin cities.
Inspector General of Police Islamabad, Dr, Akbar Nasir was briefed by the DIG Safe City, about the security measures taken in the city to avoid untoward incidents.
A heavy contingent of police personnel, Anti-Riot Unit, Rangers, paramilitary forces, Anti-Terrorist Squads, police commandos, and other peace-keeping sections of law enforcement agencies of Islamabad Capital Police, were deployed at various sensitive points to counter threats.
The IGP was informed that the monitoring continues through the safe city and drone cameras in the main procession and across the city. Currently, 99 per cent of Safe City's cameras were operational and surveillance continued. Restoring Police 4G networks for the first time, the monitory cameras were linked with the surveillance system of the federal capital to keep eye on the activities of the miscreants. The Quick Response Force remained ready to deal with any untoward incident. IGP Islamabad Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan visited the procession and reviewed the security arrangements. DIG Operations Sohail Zafar Chatta also monitored the security measures. SSP traffic remained present in the field to maintain traffic flow. SSP Operations Malik Jameel Zafar accompanied the procession and briefed the police personnel. Islamabad Capital Police took all possible steps to establish peace and order in the city.
Small processions started to gather in Markazi Imambargah in the morning from adjacent areas including Noorpur Shahan, Shahzad Town, Tarlai, Shah Allah Ditta and different areas of Rawalpindi too.
After reaching the mosque a detailed sermon was delivered by the religious scholars in which rich tributes were paid to Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S) and the martyrs of Karbala.
They highlighted the significance of the day and shed light on the sacrifices rendered by Imam Hussain (A.S) and his followers to uphold the supremacy of Islam.
Later, a big procession was taken out from the Markazi Imambargah and mosque that passed through its traditional routes, Luqman Hakeem Road, Lal Quarters, 7th Avenue, Municipal Road, Melody, and finally terminated at the Markazi Imambargah Asna Ashari, G-6/2.
Hundreds of participants observed ‘Zanjir Zani’ at Lal Quarters Chowk to commemorate Shuhda-e-Karbala’s sacrifice.
Thousands of people distributed ‘Niaz’ (food, milk, soft drinks, and simple water) among the participants of the mourning procession.
It is pertinent to note here that people belonging to other schools of thought also participated in the mourning processions to express complete solidarity.
Horse-riding personnel of Elite Force kept roaming around the sensitive areas and procession’s routes. While walkthrough gates on three levels were installed to check individuals entering the Imambargahs and participating in the mourning procession.
Over 2,200 armed personnel of law enforcement agencies and 4 Wings of Rangers and paramilitary took part in keeping peace on the 9th Muharram procession.
All the roads and streets opening to Markazia Imambargahs were closed and even pedestrians were not allowed to sneak into the Imambargah through adjacent entries.
Extraordinary and well-organized measures were taken by the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) so that no traffic hurdle was found even during peak times and the traffic remained running on the parallel routes.
Over 350 traffic personnel were deployed to keep the traffic smooth around Imambargahs and on procession routes, SSP (Traffic) Syed Mustafa Tanvir told 'The News' when asked.
“Our motive was to facilitate the Azadaars with batter management in the prevailing situation, following the strategy given by the Islamabad Police Chief”, the SSP (Traffic) added.
The Islamabad administration took stringent security measures to maintain peace in Imambargahs and fixed routes for the mourning processions and no one was allowed to enter the procession.
On 9th Muharram, the main procession in Rawalpindi was taken out from Waris Khan, Teli Mohallah, and passed through Committee Chowk, Trunk Bazaar, Jamia Masjid Road to Imambargah Qadeemi. The Rawalpindi district administration made elaborate arrangements for the mourners.
The law enforcement agencies blocked all roads leading to the places of processions while the citizens were advised to follow alternative routes.
Police used metal detectors to frisk people joining the processions. CCTV cameras and searchlights were installed along the routes of the processions, while medical facilities were also provided to the mourners. Besides, helicopters continued hovering in the sky for aerial surveillance.
In Rawalpindi, the most important processions from the security point of view were ‘Alam Zuljinah’ that was taken out from Chittian Hattian and Fatimia Imambargah, Hathi Chowk.
The first ‘Markazi Alam Zuljinah’ procession was brought out from Chittian Hattian and culminated at Colonel Maqbool Hussain Imambargah at Raja Bazaar after passing through Committee Chowk and Iqbal Road.
The second procession of ‘Alam Zuljinah’ appeared from Fatmia Imambargah, Hathi Chowk, Saddar, which marched on Railway Road, Koila Centre, and Massey Gate and reached back at Fatmia Imambargah. Scores of roadside ‘sabeels’ and charity food stalls were also set up, only after getting permission from the district administration, to provide sweet water, rice, ‘haleem’, and other food items to the participants of the processions.
On the other hand, the city’s major roads wore a deserted look as it was a public holiday and the atmosphere remained calm.