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Red alert in Pakistan on Muharram eve after Wagah attack

PTI 03 Nov 2014, 17:32:49 PM IST

Islamabad: On the eve of Muharram, the Pakistan government today placed the entire country on red alert and ordered security agencies to stay on guard against possible terrorist attacks, in the aftermath of the deadly suicide bombing at the Wagah crossing on the Indo-Pak border.

After yesterday's attack that killed 61 people near the Wagah border, security has been beefed up with Muharram processions by Shias underway across the country.

Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan has directed officials of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) to collect intelligence reports and share information with provincial authorities, Express News reported.

Mobile services have been suspended in parts of Pakistan and pillion riding banned in Karachi and Lahore, in an attempt to keep all processions peaceful.

Routes of main processions are under constant vigilance with shops in nearby areas closed for the next two days.

In Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, the main procession will take place in Nishtar Park where mourners gathered for a majlis. From here, the mourners will move to Jinnah Road and offered Zuhr prayers at Imambargah Ali Raza.

To ensure security of the mourners, around 20,000 security personnel have been deployed in the city with snipers positioned on top of buildings.

The route of the main procession is also monitored by 250 CCTV cameras.

In Lahore, the main procession for Muharram will be held in Islampura area.

With a huge number of people taking part in the processions, the government has claimed to have set up four-tier security cordon around the gatherings.

Many water stalls have been set up for those taking part in the processions while rescue workers are on alert to handle any kind of emergency.

Around 26,000 policemen in Lahore and 120,000 police officials in other districts will be on duty.