The Sindh government will be using its helicopters for aerial surveillance of the processions on Muharram 8, 9 and 10. The surveillance system belonging to Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) will also be used.
These decisions were taken on Monday evening when Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah sat down with his ministers, the chief secretary, the Rangers director-general and the governor to discuss security arrangements for the entire month of Muharram.
Shah pointed out that the law enforcers will have to be extra vigilant as Muharram and the local government elections in parts of upper Sindh are taking place simultaneously. “Members of banned outfits are already operating under new names. We have to check them at any cost,” he said.
The government also decided that pillion-riding will be banned on the three days of Ashura but families, children and elderly people will be exempted from the ban.
Rangers DG Bilal Akbar said that special passes for media personnel will be issued for coverage of processions and majalis. The home department will also write to the federal government and request that cellular services be banned on Ashura.
After studying the law and order situation in the past seven years, Akbar pointed out 95 sensitive points in the city where police and Rangers will need to coordinate on special arrangements. “The Rangers are also conducting a special operation in coordination with the police and the Counter-Terrorism Department against the activists of proscribed organisations and this will continue till Chehlum,” he said.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad asked the divisional administration to hold meetings with K-Electric for smooth power supply to streetlights. “We cannot afford the risk of dark streets particularly on sensitive days,” he said. Shah directed chief secretary Siddique Memon to coordinate with the commissioner.
Meanwhile, the special assistant to the chief minister on Auqaf and religious affairs, Dr Qayoom Soomro, assured he will meet the ulema of different sects to make sure the code of conduct is implemented. Shah added that he has directed all commissioners to form district peace committees through their respective deputy commissioners. Principal secretary Alamuddin Bullo said he is in touch with all the DCs to make sure the committees have been formed. Shah also told the chief secretary to ensure the presence of doctors, paramedical staff and medicines in all government hospitals.
Representatives of intelligence agencies also spoke about the activities of banned outfits and said they have made strict security arrangements in Shikarpur, Khairpur, Shahdadkot.
Shah appreciated the efforts made by the paramilitary force, the police and the intelligence agencies. During last Muharram, these forces performed a good job, he said. “I am sure your strategy will produce good results this time as well,” he hoped.
He urged the Rangers and police to chalk out a comprehensive security plan for the LG elections. “The first phase of the local bodies’ elections has started and it will be followed by two other phases,” he said.
NEO Web Desk