Extraordinary arrangements made in Pindi

* 15 local clerics among 200 people arrested
Extraordinary arrangements made in Pindi

RAWALPINDI: Extraordinary security arrangements have been made in Rawalpindi division, particularly in the surroundings of Raja Bazaar, to ward off any untoward incident during the observance of Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). According to the security plan, 6,000 policemen would be deployed today (Tuesday), while 10 contingents of the army and Rangers would assist the police in the city. The law enforcers have been put on high alert and deployed at sensitive places, particularly in and around Raja Bazaar, and other parts of the city to ensure foolproof security during Chehlum. The arrangements appear to be stricter this year because of threats posed by militants in the wake of fresh sectarian attacks in the city. According to security officials, most of the roads leading to the Cantonment area, Imambargahs, important buildings and residences of VIPs would remain closed throughout the day. Over in Raja Bazaar, all shopkeepers and market owners had already been directed to keep their shops shut, while the bazaar would be sealed completely. The Rawalpindi district administration has also directed transporters not to bring their vehicles on road. The authorities have also decided to keep private vehicles at a considerable distance from the route of the main procession, while special parking lots have been set up. Pillion riding has already been banned in Rawalpindi on the day. Meanwhile, the route of the main procession has been sealed and walkthrough gates put in place. Mourners will be allowed to join the processions only after a thorough frisking by security personnel and volunteers. Keeping in view last week’s bomb blast, strong contingents of police and Rangers have been deputed at ‘highly sensitive’ areas already identified by the police in the city. Rawalpindi DCO Sajid Zafar Dall said, “We will also have the support of the army and we have already shared our security plan with them.” Meanwhile, a conference has been called at the site of Jamia Darul Uloom Taleem-ul-Quran, which falls in the route of the main procession, today to express solidarity with the victims of last month’s sectarian violence. An official of the city government said that the district administration and police were trying to convince clerics of the attacked seminary/mosque to either postpone or cancel their conference. The Rawalpindi DCO said that talks with the clerics had not ended as the provincial government was in contact with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) leaders and it was expected that the clerics would postpone their conference. Meanwhile, in a bid to avert potential sectarian clashes, the Punjab government has apprehended 15 local clerics and more arrests are likely to take place. The government had already announced that there would be no change in the route of the Chehlum procession. It was also learnt that during a search operation in the city, the police also detained more than 200 people for interrogation. 

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