KARACHI/ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Amid strict security arrangements, a large number of people took part in the Yaum-e-Ali mourning processions with religious reverence in Islamabad, Lahore and various cities of Sindh, including Karachi, Sukkur, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Naushahro Feroze, Ghotki, Kandhkot, Larkana and Hyderabad on Tuesday.
In Karachi, the central procession to mark the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (RA) was taken out from the Nishtar Park and culminated peacefully at the city’s Imambargah Hussainian Iranian in Kharadar at around 11:30am.
Several smaller processions from separate parts of the city started converging on the Nishtar Park for the central procession, where noted scholar Allama Shahenshah Hussain Naqvi addressed the participants at around 6:30am, highlighting the various noble aspects of the life of Hazrat Ali (RA). After the address, the main procession started at 7:30am from the Nishtar Park and followed its traditional route through the MA Jinnah Road to culminate at the Imambargah Hussainian Iranian.
The National Command and Operation Centre had banned all kinds of processions across Pakistan in accordance with the restrictions under the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). However, various Shia organisations, including the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), had rejected the government’s ban on the 21st Ramazan procession to remember Hazrat Ali’s (RA) martyrdom day.
At the eleventh hour, the Sindh government had accorded its permission for the Yaum-e-Ali procession in Karachi and ordered sealing off the MA Jinnah Road and the adjoining streets. “To commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Ali (RA) is part of our faith, so it was not possible to deprive the mourners of their right to express their faith,” the MWM spokesperson told The News.
“There was a slight change in the procession, and that was only the timings, which the mourners had already been informed about. They all participated while complying with the Covid-19 SOPs.”
Meanwhile, Yaum-e-Shahadat-e-Hazrat Ali (RA) was also observed with religious reverence in the federal capital. The main procession started from Maktab-e-Tashayyo Ali Masjid in the capital city and was participated by thousands of mourners.
Allama Moosavi said neither the lockdown nor the corona SOPs were being followed in the markets, elections and sessions of the assemblies, but some people had unnecessarily been criticising the mourning activities.
In Lahore, the central procession of martyrdom day of Hazrat Ali (RA) was taken out from Mubarak Haveli inside Mochi Gate late Monday night, nearly 10 hours before the scheduled time of 8am on Tuesday, after the Punjab Home Department lifted the ban on the procession without prior announcement. Volunteers and doctors with ambulances were accompanying the procession. The participants had Iftar at Karbala Gamay Shah after the culmination of the procession.
Shia Ulema Council Punjab President Allama Sibtain Sabzwari told The News that the administration allowed them to take out the procession. However, police registered cases against dozens of Shia leaders but no arrests were reported in this regard. He said that people had rejected the ban on Yaum-e-Ali processions as it was against the religious freedom.
Azadari Council Punjab Chairman Allama Professor Zulfiqar Haider said Yaum-e-Ali processions were taken out in various cities of Punjab. He said the participants observed the government SOPs. He said various Shia organisations had been negotiating with the government over the past few days regarding the Yaum-e-Ali processions and the government had initially agreed to allow the processions under compliance with the SOPs, but suddenly the Punjab and federal government announced a ban on the processions, which provoked the religious sentiments of the people. He lamented that the ban was the violation of an earlier assurance which President Arif Alvi had given to the Shia leadership that mourning would be allowed under SOPs.
Besides the processions, the Shia devotees held Majalis at various places. In view of the prevailing security situation, the district government had taken strict security measures for the procession as a large number of policemen and reserved police personnel were deployed on the route and at other sensitive places.
Also, Yaum-e-Shahadat of Hazrat Ali (RA) was observed with religious reverence in various cities of Sindh, including Sukkur, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Naushahro Feroze, Ghotki, Kandhkot, Larkana, Hyderabad besides other districts.
The mourning processions were monitored by the CCTV and drone cameras at a centralised command and control room. The Rangers assisted the police in maintaining the law and order situation. As many as 150 processions were taken out in various parts of the province. On the occasion, Ulema of various schools of thoughts paid rich tributes to Hazrat Ali (RA) for his sacrifices for Islam.
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