KARACHI: Commercial activities in the downtown area of Saddar and legal proceedings in the city courts remained suspended on Wednesday as almost all roads leading to M.A. Jinnah Road were sealed for the security of Muharram processions.
A major portion of M.A. Jinnah Road, the Empress Market, Regal Chowk and other places along the route of the 8th Muharram procession were cordoned off by the law-enforcement agencies with containers and other objects before the procession reached its destination at Imambargah Husainian Iranian, Kharadar, peacefully on Wednesday evening.
The legal proceedings remained suspended at the city courts due to non-production of undertrial prisoners as the adjacent thoroughfare was sealed.
The Numaish intersection – the main entrance to the thoroughfare – was planned to be barricaded with containers in the late hours of Wednesday to secure the route of the 9th Muharram and Ashura processions.
A check post has been set up at the intersection of the Shahrah-i-Quaideen with Numaish where scouts will carry out physical search of every participant of the processions.
Similarly, the participants of the procession will be frisked by scouts and volunteers at the entry point of the Gurumandir intersection.
There will be at least three to four tiers of physical search of the participants at all entry points.
“Apart from Numaish, an entry point for the participants of the procession may be allowed from the Saddar Dawakhana,” a senior police officer said.
Trucks carrying Sabeel and ambulances will be allowed to move along the procession only after verification of their proper permits and through search.
Around 5,700 policemen and 4,459 Rangers personnel will be on duty for the security of Majlis at Nishtar Park and the main processions.
In addition, the personnel of bomb disposal unit of the special branch of police will move ahead of the processions clearing the route. Similarly, another squad of bomb disposal unit will be present at the tail of the procession.
Command & control cell
The police, meanwhile, took over the charge of the city district government’s command and control centre to monitor the routes of processions through security cameras.
According to a press release issued by the city district government, SP Operations-II Asif Razzak will be the official in charge of the centre.
The city police chief on Wednesday visited the command and control centre and witnessed the 8th Muharram procession passing through M.A. Jinnah Road.
He also monitored the security situation through the cameras focusing Nishtar Park and Regal Chowk and issued directives to the officers on duty.
The city police chief later told journalists that a total of 140 security cameras were covering the procession route.
He said that the cameras were of a great help to ensure the security of processions. He said that these cameras could be moved at a 360-degree angle.
Along with the police, Rangers, traffic police and CPLC representatives will also be present in the command and control centre.