ISLAMABAD - Security for Ashura has been augmented across the country. In addition to policemen, paramilitary has been called in to cope with any untoward incident in sensitive areas.

CCTV cameras, walkthrough gates have been while lawmen will guard mourning processions and sittings. The route of main procession would be sealed off for security and no vehicle would be allowed to park along the route. In major cities including Karachi, the district administrations have banned pillion-riding under the Section 144 during mourning days.

Pillion-riding will be banned for four days from 8th Muharram in sensitive areas of the federal capital, according to deputy commissioner office. These areas include sectors G-9, G-6, F-11 and Nurpur Shahan.  On Wednesday, the law enforcement agencies and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Sikander Hayat reviewed the security plan. The IGP directed that the minute-to-minute report be communicated to the Central Command and Control Centre/Muharram Security Monitoring Room set up at the SSP operation office.

He said that the monitoring especially of central mourning procession be undertaken through surveillance cameras and the security personnel should remain very vigilant. According to the security plan, more than 5,000 police personnel and other law enforcement agencies will perform duty on Ashura Day processions and Majalis to avoid any untoward incident. To keep peace during Muharram a contingent of 10,000 army personnel have joined hands with the civil administration, officials said on Wednesday.

The civil administration will have the authority to seeking backup of as many soldiers out of a total of 10,000 to keep calm reported the source. The federal government has announced public holidays for 9th and 10th Muharram.

In Peshawar, pillion-riding was banned for three days. Authorities imposed Section 144 while the provincial home department also recommended suspending cellular services on 9 and 10 Muharram in Peshawar, Hangu, Dera Ismail Khan and Kohat. Moreover, Afghan refugees’ entry into the city was banned for three days.

Meanwhile, the KPK government issued directives to adopt preventive measures to handle emergency situation in sensitive districts of Peshawar, Hangu, Kohat, DIKhan and Haripur.

In this connection, Secretary Relief/Director General, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Atif Rehman chaired a meeting regarding disaster and emergency analysis.  Atif Rehman said that special steps have been taken to cater emergency situation. He said that funds were provided by the PDMA to the concerned districts to execute relief activities during emergency situations.

Dr Khateer informed that special teams and ambulances of Rescue 1122 had already been sent to the sensitive districts while Director General, Civil Defence, Javed Ahmed added that services of 863 volunteers of Civil Defence would be availed.  The Punjab government banned pillion-riding in Lahore on 9 and 10 Muharram. However, women, children and elderly people are exempted from the ban, says a notification. Police will be responsible for arresting violators, who could be kept in custody for 72 hours.

As per the security plan for the holy month announced earlier, 15,700 policemen will perform security duty at more than 600 processions and 5,369 religious congregations in the city.

Around 400 policemen will also perform duty in plainclothes at processions and congregations at sensitive locations. Police would patrol within a 100-metres radius of congregations and processions, while parking lots will be set up 100 metres away from processions and majalis.