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ISLAMABAD, 9 August 2020, TON: Iranian President Hassan Rohani announced that Muharram commemorations "cannot be canceled. Qom-based Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi was quoted as saying, "We have some principles that we cannot give up at all, including mourning in Muharram." It has been reported that Minoo Mohraz, a physician who specializes in infectious diseases and is a member of Iran's task force to combat the coronavirus, warned that Muharram gatherings would be dangerous said, "The coronavirus is only being transmitted in wedding ceremonies, Eids, prayers in Mosque. Otherwise during Muharram mourning, the virus stands in a corner, beats its chest and weeps." Soon after the announcement by Iranian ledership, Pakistan has taken a lead and announced holding of Majalis and Procession as well as Police operations against the others. It should be recalled that throughout the lockdown in Pakistan there was total ban on even offering Jumma prayers or normal congregation in the Mosques. However, after the Iranian announcement now Jumma prayers have been allowed.
A press release has been issued by authorities in Pakistan on 8th August 2020 that security arrangements were discussed in a high level meeting, presided over by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad to devise an elaborate security plan and supervise all the arrangements by maintaining close liaison between police officials and peace committees, Majalis organizers and procession organizers. In a surprise move special cards would be issued to police deputed for security at religious gatherings and Imambargahs. Strict security and vigilance will be maintained at gatherings and participants through Safe City system. It has been announced that the entry of all kinds of vehicles in Imambargahs’ surroundings will be prohibited, and barbed wire will be placed around venues of gatherings while police officials will be deployed on the rooftops of buildings on procession routes. Safe City Director General has been ordered to monitor all kinds of movement around imambargahs and religious gatherings using CCTV cameras. Large strength of police has been deputed everywhere throughout the country and all Superintendent of Police have been ordered to monitor search operations themselves and inform senior officials of progress on a daily basis.
Punjab Home Department while issuing security guidelines for Ashura-e-Muharram has decided to call army and Rangers for maintaining law and order during the holy month of Muharram. Additionally, the department has issued instructions to all deputy commissioners and DPOs to make security plans and point out sensitive places. It was decided that mobile phone services would not be available on the Ashura while ban on pillion riding was under consideration, said the sources. According to sources, police guidelines have been sent to administration of all districts of the province. Leaves of police officials will be cancelled. Other provinces have also decided to call army and Rangers for maintaining law and order during the Muharram.
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