SUKKUR: Six people have suffocated to death during the Muharram 9 procession on Rohri, upper Sindh.
Three of them were identified as Dil Sher from Kashmore, Hasan Ali from Local Board Sukkur, and Mansoor from Mehrabpur. The other three identities could not be ascertained yet. They were taken to hospital by NGO vehicles taking part in part-emergency services.
The mourning procession started in the morning and as usual attracted thousands of people.
Rohri is a small city and its alleyways are quite narrow. The weather was also quite humid, which added to the conditions. People visit the area in three to four shifts to avoid the rush.
Twenty camps were set up along the route to provide first aid. Security is stiff with three army companies, 1,400 police officers, 250 rangers, walk-through gates, snap checking. There are 50 CCTV cameras and a control room to monitor the procession.
People come from all over Pakistan for this procession because it is revered for having raised a Karbala tazia for over five hundred years. There is a special ritual connected to this tazia, which is raised at 3am in the city where the lights are completely turned off. The tazia is taken out in darkness and people come from all over Pakistan to shoulder it.
It is said that this tazia or historic replica of the shrine (Zareeh-i-Aqdas) of Imam Hussain (RA) is was made about 500 years ago by a Rizvi Sadaat family of Syed Mohammad Sharif Shah Rizvi alias Mian More Shah.
“The procession starts from Mandey Khebar to end at Karbala Maidaan More Shah in the afternoon,” according to Kami E Karbala Official on YouTube.
Security tight for Muharram 9 processions
Strict security arrangements were made countrywide and mobile services remained suspended in some areas as processions to observe Muharram 9 would be taken out in several cities on Monday.
The federal government had announced last month to deploy civil armed forces in all the provinces including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to ensure law and order during the month. They had also decided that strict monitoring of social media would be ensured to prevent the spread of hateful content and religious hatred.
Nearly 181 processions, carrying ‘taziyas’, would be taken out from various areas of the Islamabad capital territory (ICT). Over 165 ‘majalis’ would also be held.
The main procession would emerge from Markazi Imambargah Asna Ashri Sector G-6/2 and would culminate at the same place after passing through its traditional route. Another major procession would start from Imambargah Imam Moosa Kazim in sector I-10 and pass through the defined route.
The ICT management has banned pillion riding in the federal capital on Muharram 9 and 10.
Police have made ample security arrangements cordoning off the entire route of the procession. Sector G-6 would be completely closed with major roads blocked and many streets cut off with concrete blocks and barbed wire.
The ICT police have devised a special traffic plan for Muharram and decided to deploy more than 613 policemen including officers and jawans on the various routes of processions to avoid any inconvenience to the road users, the deputy commissioner Islamabad said.
Some 1,800 personnel of Frontier Corps would also be deployed for security. As many as 613 personnel including one SP, four DSPs, and 22 inspectors would perform duties to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and guide the road users to alternate routes to avoid any inconvenience.
The traffic signals on the roads leading to procession would be turned off while mobile service on routes of processions would remain suspended.
The main procession in Karachi would emerge from Nishtar Park at 1pm, going through MA Jinnah Road, Empress Market in Saddar, Tibet Centre and end at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar.
The MA Jinnah Road has been closed by placing containers.
As many as 378 majalis would be held in Lahore while 79 processions would be taken out. The main procession would start from Pound Street, Islampura, going through the civil secretariat, old Anarkali, and reach Khema Sadaat. It would culminate at Pound Street.
Over 10,000 security personnel have been deployed for the security.
The provincial government has imposed Section 144 (which prohibits the assembly of four or more people in an area) of the Criminal Code of Procedure and banned pillion riding. Show of weapons was also banned.
Two main processions were taken out in Peshawar. The first procession was taken out from Imambargah Hussainia Hall at 10am while the second was taken out from Imambargah Bibi Sahiba at 3pm. A total of 16 processions would be taken out in the city, officials said.
More than 7,000 security officials have been deployed for security.
The main procession would be taken out from Shabi Zuljinnah at 2pm and culminate at the same Imam Bargah.
Emergency has been imposed in private and government hospitals.
(With input from APP)