LAHORE, Nov 24: The main Zuljinnah procession was taken out from Mochi Gate’s Nisar Haveli around midnight on Saturday amidst extraordinary security arrangements.
A majlis was held at the Nisar Haveli before the beginning of the procession in which Shia ulema and scholars narrated the Karbala events.
Mourners beat their chests amidst recitals of elegies, throwing a ring around the Zuljinah.
Thousands of police in uniform and plainclothes are on guard duty till the culmination of the procession on the evening of Sunday. Lady police too are on duty, and army and rangers are standby for assistance in case of any eventuality.
A helicopter will hover over the procession route for an aerial view, and quick response if required.
The Zuljinah will take a round of major imambargahs inside Mochi Gate till the morning prayers after which the procession will leave Mochi Gate. It will culminate at Karbala Gamey Shah outside Bhati Gate on Sunday evening after passing through its traditional route. The route covers Chohta Mufti Baqar, Kashmiri Bazaar, Suha Bazaar, Said Mitha, Tehsil Bazaar and inside Bhati Gate.
There was a curfew-like situation in and around the Walled City, the centre of Ashura-i-Muharram mourning.
Police and volunteers of the Shia community carrying metal detectors were frisking mourners who were also being allowed entry upon identification.
The entry points were few and heavily guarded in view of the security threats. Rescue 1122 teams were also present to provide assistance.
All shops on the route of the procession will remain closed. Even the residents were disallowed to open their windows. Police carrying guns mounted rooftops of houses on the route to provide security.
City police chiefs and fathers were on their toes. Even the chief minister went downtown to review arrangements for the procession. He was briefed on the arrangements by the Lahore DCO. The direction was to do the utmost to ensure security.
Earlier, several majalis and Zuljinnah processions were taken out in the city on Saturday.
The city roads wore a deserted look because of public holiday, the security concerns, and ban on pillion riding. Suspension of mobile telephone service disconnected the people, and the major source of information was the television channels.