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September 9, 2019

Procession of 8th Muharram culminates peacefully amid tight security


September 9, 2019

To pay homage to the martyrs of Karbala, the main mourning procession of 8th Muharram in Karachi passed through its traditional route for the most part and culminated at the Hussainian Iranian Imambargah in the Kharadar neighbourhood on Sunday evening.

The procession was held under strict security measures that included a ban on riding pillion on motorbikes and the suspension of mobile phone services to avoid any untoward incident. Smaller processions issued from Ancholi in Federal B Area, Pehlwan Goth in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Jafar-e-Tayyar Society in Malir, Old Rizvia Society, New Rizvia Society, Qasba Colony, Abbas Town and Soldier Bazaar.

The smaller processions later joined the main procession at the Nishtar Park, from where the rally proceeded through its traditional route for the most part. A large number of people, including women and children, participated in the central procession.

A Majlis-e-Aza was held at around 10am and it was addressed by noted Shia scholar Maulana Kumail Mehdavi, who highlighted the matchless sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). He said the mission of Imam Hussain (RA) is distinctly unique and revolutionary in nature.

“Imam’s (RA) sacrifices to save Islam are still remembered across the Muslim world. Each of us should act as Imam Hussain (RA), because by following Hussain (RA) in his footsteps, we can revive the spirit of Karbala.”

The procession then passed through the Nishtar Park and Guru Mandir, following which the Namaz-e-Zohrain were offered at the VVIP Gate of the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Then the procession passed Peoples Chowrangi and took New MA Jinnah Road to reach the Saddar Dawakhana, from where it passed the Empress Market, Regal Chowk, the Tibet Centre and the Plastic Market to culminate at the Hussainian Iranian Imambargah.

There were more than 30,000 mourners in the procession. All the roads and streets that were part of the route of the procession were sealed with containers and other barricades. Officials with the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) were deployed along the route for the protection of the main procession as well as the venues of different Majalis.

The procession was also monitored at the Command & Control Centre set up at the Central Police Office (CPO) as well as at the Civic Centre through security cameras installed along the route.

Security officials were also deployed at the rooftops of the buildings along the route to monitor the procession. Scout organisations, rescue services and the city administration had also made the necessary arrangements to facilitate the participants of the procession.

The Sindh Home Department has also imposed a three-day ban until Ashura on motorcycle-pillion riding in the city, while mobile phone services will also be partially suspended.

Emergency has already been declared at all the public hospitals of the city and in other parts of the province, with instructions to doctors and paramedical staff to be available as well as to ensure the availability of medicines.

Besides more than 2,000 volunteers, over 6,000 law enforcers were deployed along the route of the main procession on Sunday. No participant was allowed to enter the procession from the front.

Three protective circles were formed by scouts, police and Rangers, who surrounded the procession, while sharpshooters were deployed on more than 150 rooftops along the route. Staying ahead of the procession, bomb disposal teams kept clearing the area.

All link roads were sealed, commercial areas closed and movements other than the procession banned. The procession route was sealed, as shops and markets located on both sides of MA Jinnah Road were closed under the security plan issued by the Karachi police.

The traffic police have issued a plan for alternative routes for commuters, following the blocking of MA Jinnah Road and its surrounding roads due to the Muharram processions. Before and after the procession on Sunday, top police officials visited the notified route and were briefed on the security arrangements by the senior officers.

Senior police and Rangers officials visited the Command & Control Centre at the CPO and monitored the processions that issued from different parts of the city and the security arrangements through the CCTV cameras installed along the route.

They directed the relevant law enforcers to ensure the security of the mourners and the processions, stressing the need for strong coordination between the police, Rangers and other LEAs.

According to the security plan devised by the Sindh police, more than 70,000 officials have been deployed across the province to maintain law and order during the processions. Over 10,000 officials have been deployed in Karachi, 19,496 in Hyderabad and 17,042 in Larkana.

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