ISLAMABAD - Following two deadly terrorist attacks, security throughout the country has been put on high alert for 10th of Muharam-ul-Harram (Youm-e-Ashur).

Hundreds of thousands of police personnel besides paramilitary forces and army have been deployed in the country to provide security to the Muharram processions.

“The federal government has especially requisitioned 16,000 personnel of armed forces, including 10,000 army men and around 6,000 civil armed forces personnel for the security during Muharram,” an official of the Ministry of Interior said. The federal government has made this deployment in all four provinces in the light of their demands for additional force. The deployment is in addition to the already deployed civil armed forces in different provinces. “We are monitoring the whole security situation of the country during Muharram though law and order is the prime responsibility of the provinces,” a federal government officer said.

National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the Ministry of Interior and National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) has issued special security alerts to the provinces in the light of the reports from the different intelligence agencies. The NCMC has established a special cell in the Ministry of Interior to monitor the security situation in different parts of the country.

Like that of 9th Muharram, the mobile phone services in major cities of the country would remain suspended on Ashura. The provincial authorities have already banned pillion riding in big cities. Similarly, Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) has also banned pillion riding.

Security of sensitive installations in the federal and the provincial capitals have been beefed up with the deployment of additional forces and aerial surveillance. While security of important buildings in Islamabad would remain on high alert on Ashura. However, there will be no major mourning procession in the capital today. Similarly, security in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir has also been enhanced.

The provincial reserve police forces including Punjab Constabulary (PC) and Frontier Constabulary have also been deployed in their respective provinces to enhance the security measures. The provincial police authorities are also using drone cameras for the security of Ashura processions. The police and local authorities in the major cities of all four provinces have sealed the main procession routes of while erecting containers and barbed wires.

The provincial police authorities have categorised the cities as well as procession routes of processions into A, B and C keeping in view the sensitivity of the areas. In Punjab, Rawalpindi city has been declared ‘very sensitive’ because of a tragic incident in 2013 when some armed personnel had attacked a seminary in the heart of city on Ashura and killed many innocent people. In Punjab, districts including Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Layyah, Jhang, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar have been declared sensitive besides some other major cities. District Rahim Yar Khan is another sensitive district of Punjab being the hometown of former chief of Lashker-e-Jhangvi Malik Ishaq who was killed this year in a police encounter.

Security has been kept on very high alert following two terrorist incidents, one in Quetta and other in Sindh. Eleven people were killed and 12 injured on Thursday evening when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Imambargah in Bolan district of Quetta.

A bomb detonated in a Muharram procession in Jacobabad district of Sindh on Friday evening that killed at least 10 people and injuring many others, initial reports say.