Law enforcement authorities from civil and military institutions on Tuesday participated in a high-level meeting held at the Corps Headquarters Karachi to review security arrangements for the month of Muharram, a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
Lt Gen Mirza highlighted the importance of coordination between security establishments and religious leaders, members of the ulemaand the residents of Karachi, the statement said.
Every year, a few days before the start of Muharram, the state comes alive and swings into action, rounding up suspected hatemongers, hosting meetings of ‘peace committees’ featuring clerics of various persuasions, and taking other steps to ensure the mourning period passes off without incident.
Over the past few days, the administrations of various areas have been taking such measures. As reported on Wednesday, two suspected militants belonging to the banned sectarian outfit Lashkar-i-Jhangvi were arrested in Karachi by the Counter-Terrorism Department. Meanwhile, the entry of nine clerics has been banned by the Gilgit-Baltistan administration.
All these steps are par for the course. However, the administration also needs to keep an eye on individuals on the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
This watch list contains the names of individuals suspected of involvement in extremist activities. But as reported from Rawalpindi the other day, 14 individuals on the Fourth Schedule have been “found missing”, whereas the police are supposed to keep track of their movements.
To ensure a peaceful Muharram, such individuals must be monitored closely. Moreover, at the first sign of trouble, rabble-rousers and hatemongers must be apprehended and prosecuted to send a strong message that the state will not tolerate such mischief at this sensitive time.