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Religious processions, gatherings under ‘grave danger’: Basharat – Pakistan

LAHORE: Provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat said religious processions and gatherings are currently in grave danger of terrorist activities according to intelligence reports, so no religious or political group will be allowed to stage a sit-in or hold a protest demonstration in the forthcoming (holy) days.

The minister disclosed this while addressing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Law and Order at the Civil Secretariat on Friday. He directed the district administrations across Punjab to strictly stop any attempt related to protest or sit-in at any place while reviewing security arrangements for upcoming holy days of Hazrat Ali (R.A) martyrdom, Lailatul Qadr, Jummatul Wida (Yaumul Quds) and by-election in Khushab.

He said imambargahs, mosques, gatherings and processions should be closely monitored during these days. “Authorized officers should review the security plan at appropriate intervals. The ban on Covid-19 SOPs in religious gatherings and processions should be ensured as much as possible and especially district administrations across the province should activate peace committees in their respective areas to implement SOPs effectively,” he instructed.

However, he added, the NCOC’s decision on allowing religious gatherings during the pandemic would be final. The minister appealed to limit religious gatherings as much as possible in view of the current alarming situation of Covid-19.

IG Punjab Inam Ghani said the local administration would be held responsible if the law and order situation deteriorated anywhere in the province. “There would be no concession with the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) detainees and they would have to face the law in any case,” he pledged, adding that FIRs would be lodged against violators of Covid-19 SOPs without any discrimination.

Khushab deputy commissioner and district police officer (DPO) briefed the participants about the security plan for the by-election on the vacant seat of late MPA Waris Klu. The law minister directed both the senior officers to maintain a close liaison with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials until the completion of election process.

Prominent among the participants of the meeting were Provincial Minister for Labor Ansar Majeed Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Home Monin Agha, CCPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar, Commissioner Lahore, Additional IG Special Branch and CTD and officers of other law enforcing agencies.

Meanwhile, IG Punjab Inam Ghani while presiding over a security meeting at the Central Police Office (CPO) said comprehensive measures will be taken in the last Ashra of Ramazan under a comprehensive strategy to control crime across the province as well as to effectively implement corona SOPs.

For the provision of security on Hazrat Ali (R.A) Day, Jumatul-Wada and Eidul Fitr and implementation of the SOPs, the IG police directed the senior police officers to maintain a close liaison with the district administration, organizers and all the stakeholders (religious scholars) and seek their recommendations regarding security arrangements.

He added that in the last 10 days of the holy month, the focus should be on increasing the number of patrolling personnel and deployment, including the deployment of additional police teams at sensitive locations to tighten the noose around criminals and senior officers should personally review the security arrangements in the field.

He instructed that search, sweep, combing and intelligence-based operations (IBOs) in the vicinity of sensitive religious and public places should be continued on daily basis while security of all religious places including mosques and imambargahs should be kept on high-alert on the occasion of Lailatul Qadr.

He further said proclaimed offenders usually visit their homes on the occasion of Eidul Fitr. Therefore, the DPOs should formulate a special plan for their arrests. During the meeting, the RPOs and DPOs briefed the IG about the implementation of Corona SOPs and security arrangements.

The IG Punjab instructed them to crackdown on liquor vendors, especially those selling raw and poisonous liquor while action against those violating the Loudspeaker Act should not be delayed at all. He further said that all the RPOs, CPOs and DPOs should go out in the field and inspect the implementation of the corona SOPs in markets, business centers and other public places.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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