Chehlum observed in Rawalpindi amid tight security

* Cellular services remain suspended throughout the day * Minor clashes reported in parts of city but security officials manage to control the situation
Chehlum observed in Rawalpindi amid tight security

RAWALPINDI: Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) activists tried to disturb peace in Rawalpindi on the Chehlum of martyrs of Karbala on Tuesday; however, the police were able to calm down the charged activists and control the situation.
Clashes between police and angry protesters were reported in Rawalpindi’s Pir Wadhai area, where a large number of students of a local Deoband seminary in Rawalpindi tried to enter Islamabad through the area to protest against the government’s permission to holding of Chehlum processions. 
Security forces shelled the angry mob and succeeded in dispersing them. Islamabad SSP Dr Rizwan also reached the spot and arrested almost a dozen suspects.
On the directive of the SSP, a large number of security forces were called in from Islamabad to contain the mob in Rawalpindi and prevent the protesters from entering the capital city. Later, the police and other security officials managed to bring the situation under control.
In another incident of violence, a group of armed protesters reportedly forced shopkeepers to shut down their shops near Raja Bazaar in the garrison city, where a clash broke out during Ashura procession on November 15.
According to witnesses, a group of armed men in the presence of police contingents fired gunshots into the air, injuring at least five people. Soon after the incident, security personnel rushed to the spot and took control of the area. 
Meanwhile, most parts of Rawalpindi were sealed off on the occasion of Chehlum for fear of potential incidents of violence, while cellular services remained suspended the entire day. These steps were part of the government’s special measures to ensure security of mourners in the city.
The Rawalpindi district administration also imposed a ban on pillion riding, use of loudspeakers and exhibition of firearms. Besides, thousands of police personnel and Rangers, besides contingents of the army, remained on high alert, especially at the entry and exit points of the city.
Due to the closure of roads with large containers and trawlers, traffic remained thin in Rawalpindi, while most of the markets gave a deserted look. Business activities in these localities were also adversely affected due to the closure of roads and markets. Only restaurants remained open on these routes. SP (Investigation) Raja Zameerul Haq told the media in Rawalpindi that the police had deployed around 3,000 personnel at the processions for providing security to the mourners. 
Meanwhile, the main Chehlum procession of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and martyrs of Karbala in Rawalpindi passed through its traditional route on Tuesday.
Small mourning processions were taken out from different Imambargahs of the city, which merged at different points and all the processions culminated at Qadeemi Imambargah. The major processions were taken out from Imambargah Shah Chan Charagh, Mutawali Imambargah and Baltistan Imambargah.aThe routes of the main processions were sealed off and no one was allowed to enter without being frisked and passing through walkthrough gates. Volunteers in large numbers also helped the law enforcers in maintain security at the processions and other religious gatherings. 

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