Ashura, the 10th of Muharram, will be observed on Wednesday (today) with traditional religious solemnity and fervour amidst tight security to ward off terror fears as authorities have made extra security measures to ensure security, including suspension of mobile phone service in and around the main procession route and other sensitive areas.
Despite the recent violent incidents in Quetta, Karachi, and KP, the faithfuls in Lahore are fully prepared to keep up the traditional religious devotion on Ashura to commemorate the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions in Karbala in 61AH.
On Tuesday, the 9th of Muharram, the mourning activities reached their peak as various Zuljinnah, Alam and Tazia processions were taken out from different parts of the provincial metropolis.
The main procession was taken out from Islampura in Pando Street in the morning and culminated at the same place in the night. Other prominent processions were taken out from Zafar Colony, Wasanpura, Shadman, Green Town, Mughalpura, and Ferozepur road. These processions marched through traditional routes before culminating at the appointed places peacefully.
The central Zuljinnah procession of Ashura emerged from Nisar Haveli inside Mochi gate late Tuesday night amidst strict security arrangements, and began its day-long journey through its traditional route. Accompanied by hundreds of mourners the procession will culminate at Karbala Gamay Shah near Data Darbar on Wednesday evening.
The procession will move through its route and pass from Mohallah Chehel Bibian, Imambargah Syed Wajid Ali Shah, Lakkar Mandi, Imambargah Mehdi Shah, Mobarak Haveli, Chowk Nawab Sahab, Kucha Qazi Khan, Imambargah Molvi Feroze Ali, Kucha Miskinaan, Mohallah Pir Gilanian, Imambargah Rajab Ali Shah, Chohata Mufti Baqar, Chowk Purani Kotwali, Kashmiri Bazaar, Sunehri Masjid, Dabbi Bazaar, Suha Bazaar, Gumti Bazaar, Said Mitha Bazaar, Tehsil Bazaar, Bazaar Hakiman, Unchi Masjid and Bhati Chowk. Before the start of the procession, a Majlis-e-Aza was held in which masaaibs were narrated by renowned Zakirin. The majlis was preceded by recitations by various Noha Khwans who paid tributes to the martyrs of Karbala. Large number of chest beating and Noha reciting mourners participated in the majlis who later joined the procession and also observed self-flagellation with chained knives at several points on the route. A large number of Sabeels of juices, milk and water were set up mostly by Sunnis along the route to facilitate the mourners. Besides, a number of banners calling for religious harmony were erected by different political, social workers and other office-bearers of the district government.
All markets and businesses were closed on the occasion of Ashura while press issued special supplements and electronic media aired special programmes to mark the significance of the event. The Lahore administration have made extra security measures in view of the ongoing wave of terrorism.
Besides the suspension of mobile phone service in sensitive areas, the police, Rangers and army jawans kept patrolling different areas while special forces personnel have taken positions on the rooftops of the buildings along the route to keep an eye on miscreants. In addition, army helicopters also kept monitoring the procession along their routes. The route of the procession has been closed to the general public and pedestrians. Local residents entering the route to reach their houses and shops are being thoroughly searched.
Special security gates and scanners have been placed at the entrances of Imambargahs for searching the participants. The residents of the buildings along the route have been barred from opening their windows and coming to roofs.
The town administration of Data Town has put up extra lights along the route to brighten the area to facilitate the security personnel in maintaining law and order especially in the night time. Town nazims and other office-bearers also kept inspecting the situation at different points of the route to ensure peace.
After the culmination of the procession, a Majlis-e-Sham-e-Ghariban will be held inside Karbala Gamay Shah in which noted Zakerin will highlight the importance of the sacrifice by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions.
Ambulances by city district government and various other relief organisations are made available for transporting those wounded to hospitals while the volunteers will provide first aid to the mourners during and after self-flagellation.
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