Punjab declares high alert for Muharram
RAWALPINDI, Nov 9: Law enforcement agencies in the region have been put on ‘high alert’ following intelligence reports that terrorists may strike during the Muharram days, Dawn has learnt.
It looks a serious threat as the Home Department of Punjab has directed regional police chiefs to book the suspect terrorists on their watch lists under Anti-Terrorism Act, if they are not found at their listed home addresses.
Police sources said the intelligence was that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Al-Qaeda might be planning to target luxury hotels where foreigners have been staying or visiting and to release “poison into water tanks”.
And there is always the possibility that they try to kidnap serving or retired government officers and target sensitive installations.
City Police Officer Azhar Hameed Khokhar, and his counterparts at Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal have been instructed to be extra vigilant, strictly watch the members of militant groups and initiate legal action against those not found at their homes.
These men had been either tried for terrorism or been involved in terrorist activities and been placed in, what the sources called, ‘the 4th Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act’. A large number of the suspects falling in this category have been missing, according to the intelligence agencies.
Instructions issued by the Regional Police Officer Mohammad Zubair ask the district police officers to check the activities of three other categories of persons also – ATBs, LMEs and RAPs.
The abbreviations stand for Afghan Trained Boys – that is the men trained in Afghanistan during the Afghan war of the 1980s and returned to Pakistan after the Soviet occupation forces left; Lal Masjid Elements; and Returned Afghan Prisoners, men
imprisoned in Afghanistan and later released.
In addition to the police, the Punjab Home Department requires the Special Branch and the Counter Terrorism Department to maintain law and order “before, during and after Muharram”, a holy month for the Muslims which often sees sectarian violence.“Immediate steps be taken to ensure foolproof security of all places of worship, including mosques, Imambargahs, Majalis and processions,” say the guidelines issued to law enforcement agencies by the home department.
“Vigilance level of the law enforcement agencies and district government should be ‘high alert’ to thwart off terror and all arrangements should be monitored by the district police chiefs and district coordination officers and the same should be supervised by the regional police officers and commissioners.”
ATTOCK: The district administration here has barred 63 religious leaders belonging to other districts from entering Attock for 90 days.
Besides, it also issued gagging order against 29 Ulema and Zakireen of the Attock district to ensure peace during Muharram.
The ban on the entry of the religious leaders would be effective from Muharram 1.
FATEHJHANG: To maintain peace during Muharram, cooperation of media, ulema and religious leaders cannot be neglected.
The organisers of Majalis should also help the local administration in this regard.
This was stated by Bilal Hashim, the assistant commissioner of Fatehjhang, while speaking at a meeting of the peace committee here on Friday.
He said our religion teaches us tolerance and, therefore, we should work for promotion of tolerance and harmony.