Mobile services were suspended in Karachi and Nawabshah on Sunday, Muharram 8, as part of the measures taken to ensure the safety of the main processions that will take place today.
The secretary of the Department of Interior of Sindh, Abdul Kabir Qazi, confirmed that mobile services were suspended in 245 areas in Karachi. He said that the areas where cell signals had become stuck are places where large processions and majalis take place. He said those areas had been designated as "flash points."
The cellular services were suspended until the night in the sector G-9 of Islamabad to guarantee the security of a procession that was taken from a imambargah in the area, the Islamabad police spokesman said.
Deputy General Inspector of the Shaheed Benazirabad Mazhar Nawaz Shaikh division said Sunrise that cell services will remain suspended in Nawabshah, as well as in the Sanghar and Naushahro Feroze districts until the night of 8, 9 and 10 in Muharram. He said services will be suspended in all areas where the processions were planned, including small cities.
The signals of the main cell phone companies, such as Jazz, Telenor, Ufone and Zong, were suspended in the city from 10:30 a.m.
In Rawalpindi, the capital city police officer, Faisal Rana, said 3,000 security personnel had been deployed to ensure the safety of the processions that were taking place. Mobile services will not be suspended in the city today.
Security in Muharram 9
In Islamabad, mobile services will remain suspended in Muharram 9 in the G-6 sector, from where the main procession of the day will be taken out. Islamabad police inspector general, Mohammad Amir Zulfiqar, said there are strict security measures to avoid any unfortunate incident.
A safety sweep of the procession route through robots will be performed and the area will be sealed with containers and barbed wires.
The main procession, which will be taken from Isna Ashri imambargah in G-6 and will culminate at the same point, it will be monitored through Safe City cameras and helicopters, Zulfiqar said.
The procession will be accompanied by police and Rangers officers and security officers will also be posted on the rooftops of all buildings along the route.
Section 144 will be imposed in areas from where the processions will pass to Muharram 9.
The administration of the capital urged citizens, who will not be part of the processions, not to observe activities from their balconies or shops. Residents have also been advised to avoid traveling from the G-9.
IGP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mohammad Naeem Khan, at a press conference, said central monitoring teams were formed that will visit several districts on Ashura to ensure that "the steps taken on the ground conform to the strategy and safety plan that was approved ".
About 50,000 security personnel, of which 40,000 will be police officers, will be deployed to ensure that Muharram's activities are carried out smoothly, he said.
He told reporters that meetings had also been held with the army and other law enforcement agencies and expressed the hope that Ashura would be observed peacefully.
A written request, a copy of which is available with DawnNewsTV, has been sent by the police superintendent (operations), CCPO Peshawar to the provincial PGI (operations) asking permission for the suspension of mobile services in the jurisdiction of 13 police stations. There has been no formal response to the request so far.
Khan said the police department will try to minimize the duration of the suspension of mobile services this year so that residents do not face inconvenience.