LAHORE - As Youm-e-Ashur nears, Lahore police have virtually sealed the entire walled city and other sensitive parts on Tuesday night with deployment of armed personnel and unusual patrolling on gun-fitted vehicles in addition to multilayer security-checks in the most sensitive areas.

Police officers say they believe the coming days are most critical with regard to Muharram security. Therefore, unprecedented security measures are adopted in place to ward off any possible terror attempt since the nature of threat-alerts is more serious as compared to the previous year.

Thousands of policemen including plainclothesmen have been deployed around the venue of Majalis and mourning processions to avoid any untoward happening. The police also intensified armed-patrolling in the areas declared as most sensitive while the mourners were being allowed to join the processions and majalis only after complete body search.

“We are properly monitoring security situation from the command and control center established at the police headquarters. Quick Response Force has also been deployed in the sensitive localities to maintain peace,” Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmed told The Nation on Tuesday.

According to the city police chief, the cops are strictly directed to ensure special security cover to all Ashura processions at the time of dispersal as well. He also directed the police that no irrelevant or suspicious person should be allowed to enter into the crowd.

The police have also launched search operations in different parts of the provincial metropolis against the suspected persons while anti-terror cells are also activated to ensure quick response in case of any untoward happening.

At least 15,700 policemen are deployed across Lahore to ensure foolproof security for 600 mourning procession and 5,369 Majalis to be held in the city. “Some 450 policemen in plainclothes are also performing special duties in the areas identified as sensitive and most sensitive,” a spokesman for Lahore police said.

According to Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khan Baig, the level of security threat is more serious during Muharram-ul-Haram as compared to the pervious year.

Therefore, the police have taken unprecedented security arrangements to maintain peace.

At least 139,977 police officers and officials are deployed on security duties across the Punjab province to ensure peace and tranquility during the holy month.