Strict security for chehlum processions today
* First chehlum procession in Islampura last night
By Shahnawaz Khan
LAHORE The first Chehlum procession of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) began on Saturday morning at Pando Street in Islampura and concluded at Krishan Nagar in the evening after passing through its traditional route, Punjab Civil Secretariat, Old Anarkali, Babri Chowk (Khema Sadaat) and Edward Road.
Mourners beat their chests and did self-flagellation to express sorrow and grief over the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS).
Doctors and paramedical staff accompanied the procession throughout the rosewater-sprinkled route amid tight security. Police sealed the route of the procession one hour before the procession began.
On March 31, panic gripped the Sanda police precincts when two religious groups scuffled on the procession route. Sanda Police Station duty officer said that Ulfat Shah and associates organised a procession and allegedly disturbed the peace. The scuffle began when Muhammad Ashiq and his associates from another group tried to stop them from proceeding.
Senior police officers rushed to the spot and calmed members of the two groups. However, Superintendent of Police, Saddar Division, Bilal Siddique Kamyana suspended the on-duty Assistant Sub-Inspector Muhammad Abbas for failing to resolve the matter.
The main Chehlum procession will begin this morning (Sunday) from Haveli Ali Shah, which will conclude at Karbala Gamay Shah late in the evening after passing through its traditional route, inside Delhi Gate, Mochi Gate, Kashmiri Bazaar, Suha Bazaar, Tibbi, Texali Gate and Bhati Gate. The founder of the procession Altaf Shah will lead the procession.
City police has beefed up security on the main procession route to avoid violence during the procession. The route will be sealed one hour before the procession begins.
Police, special branch, Intelligence Bureau (IB), fire brigade, Civil Defence, Bomb Disposal Squad and emergency wards of hospitals have been alerted.
The sources said barbwire would be laid out along the route and officials of the security and emergency departments would be deployed at sensitive places including Tehsil Bazaar and inside Bhatti Gate.
Special security arrangements have also been made at Bhatti Gate Chowk to facilitate the mourners. Plainclothes cops will patrol the Walled City.
Necessary equipment like metal detectors have already been provided to police to maintain peace during the procession. Residents in these areas have been asked to keep their doors and windows closed.
Armed policemen will be deputed at the rooftops of buildings along the procession route. Lahore Traffic Police has also finalised their arrangements.