ISLAMABAD - The federal and provincial governments are seeking help of ulema, realizing that they hold the key to maintaining peace during religious gatherings and mourning processions in Muharram.

According to sources, ulema have been holding meetings with district administrations to exchange views to help maintain peace and security during Muharram.

Chief ministers of Punjab and Balochistan have sought the help of religious scholars in promoting peace during the month. Punjab Chief Minister met with Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen Committee Punjab and urged Ulema to help the government in keeping peace.

The district administrations have issued gagging orders for dozens of clerics and orators ahead of Muharram as they are known for making provocative speeches. Lists of these scholars were prepared in the light of intelligence reports.

In Rawalpindi, police banned entry of 21 religious scholars. The religious scholars are also banned in various districts including

Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Attock, Sialkot and Muzaffargarh. The City District Government of Lahore had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code under which gathering of five or more persons at any place in the city will remain banned. Inspector General of Sindh Police Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari has sought assistance of Ulema from different schools of thought to help the provincial government in implementing the security plan. Similarly, during a meeting of leaders and representatives of religious organisations the Peshawar administration enlisted their support to ensure calm.

The district government in Rawalpindi also held a similar meeting, pleading with Ulema to help keep religious harmony.

While as month of Muharram started, authorities imposed section 144 of the Criminal Penal Code in three provinces of Pakistan and Gilgit Baltistan to stop unruly elements from disturbing peace.

According to police, hundreds of gatherings and procession routes in Faisalabad, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh have been declared most sensitive.