LAHORE: Punjab Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani says Youm-i-Ali mourning processions are not allowed to save the lives of people due to the surge in the coronavirus cases and action will be taken over any kind of violations. He said the provincial government and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had banned Youm-i-Ali mourning processions across the province this year.
“Only Majalis are allowed under strict implementation of coronavirus SOPs on Youm-i-Ali.”
The IGP said the love for Ahl-e-Bayt (the family of the Prophet) was a part of their faith but the decision not to hold the processions was taken only to stop the spread of the pandemic. He said the processions were not allowed due to gravity of the situation; otherwise, the government did not want to stop the processions in memory of Ahl-e-Bayt.
The IGP was presiding over a meeting on security arrangements for Youm-i-Ali at the camp office on Sunday. The meeting reviewed the steps being taken for security of Majalis. Additional IG Operations Sahibzada Shehzad Sultan, CCPO Lahore Ghulam Mehmood Dogar, Additional IG CTD Wasim Ahmed Khan, DIG Operations Lahore Sajid Kayani, RPO Sheikhupura Dr Inam Waheed and DIG Operations Sohail Sukhera were present in the meeting. Other officers, including all the RPOs, CPOs and DPOs of the province, participated through a video link.
The RPOs and DPOs briefed the meeting on security arrangements, saying the recommendations of the organisers and local notables had been taken into consideration during the security arrangements of the meetings. Instructing the officers, Mr Ghani said if any district needed help in terms of security arrangements, the operations branch of the Central Police Office should be informed about it immediately.
Mr Ghani directed the police officers to work with the district administration to take the license holders and organisers of the processions into confidence not to hold a procession and if a procession was taken out anywhere in the province, the organisers would face legal action. He further said irresponsible behaviour of the citizens could lead to a serious increase in the coronavirus cases; therefore, the organisers of the gatherings and the mourners were required to strictly implement the Covid-19 SOPs.
The IGP said modern equipment like metal detectors, walk-through gates and CCTV cameras monitoring should be fully utilised during security arrangements in all the districts while expert snipers should be deployed on roof top for security of A-category Majalis. He further said that commandos in civvies should be deployed for protection of mourners while women personnel should be deployed for the convenience and protection of women mourners.
He further said that the police officers and personnel deployed on security duty should also strictly enforce the implementation of Corona SOPs so that they could perform their duties while remaining safe from the Covid-19. He further said that, in collaboration with the Special Branch and other law enforcement agencies, search, sweep, combing and intelligence-based operations should be ensured in the vicinity of sensitive imambargahs and mosques.
Two days ago, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting was held on the conduct of Youm-i-Ali. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan were present in the meeting, which decided impose a ban on Youm-i-Ali processions due to the spike in the Covid-19 cases in the country while majalis were permitted under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) already placed for Ramazan.