Security beefed up in Lahore for Muharram processions

Security beefed up in Lahore for Muharram processions
Lahore:  In the wake of bombings and suicide attacks targeting Shia processions in different parts of Pakistan, over 25,000 policemen have been put on high alert in the capital city of the most populous province of Punjab for 'Ashura', the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram.

For the first time, a four-tier security plan is being introduced for the main 'Zuljinnah' processions to be taken out on the ninth and tenth day of Muharram on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Lahore Police chief Aslam Tareen convened a meeting of various departments, including the Operations and Investigation wings, Counter-Terrorism Department and Special Branch, on Friday to review security arrangements.

Tareen said police will use all resources to maintain law and order and provide security to Shia mourners.

He directed police officials to perform their duty with commitment and foil the designs of terrorists.

Officers would be present at all points along the routes of Shia processions with policemen, and any officer found absent would face action, he said.

No irrelevant person should be allowed near the routes of Zuljinnah processions, while a vigilant eye should be kept on balconies of houses located along the routes, he said.

Tareen directed officials to remove all temporary encroachments on the routes of the main Zuljinnah procession and to conduct a thorough search of streets adjacent to the route.

A certificate should be obtained from residents of all buildings along the routes that no stranger or any guest who was not their blood relative was staying with them, he said.

He said CCTV cameras were being installed on the route of the main Zuljinnah procession with the cooperation of the city district government, while complete video coverage of the procession had also been arranged.

Seven persons were killed and 18 injured when a Shia procession was targeted with a roadside bomb at Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan's restive northwest on Saturday.

On Thursday, 23 people were killed and more than 60 injured when a suicide attacker targeted a procession in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Another suicide bomber blew himself up close to a Shia prayer hall at Lakki Marwat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Friday night, injuring two persons.

Lahore too has witnessed deadly attacks during Muharram in the past few years.

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