KP beefs up security for Eid ul Fitr

By Javed Khan

A Pakistani police officer July 1 in Pishtakhara distributes pamphlets to worshippers. The pamphlets ask for public support in improving security. [Javed Khan]

A Pakistani police officer July 1 in Pishtakhara distributes pamphlets to worshippers. The pamphlets ask for public support in improving security. [Javed Khan]

PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has taken special measures to provide security across the province during Eid ul Fitr, which begins July 6.

Authorities have increased the number of police officers patrolling Peshawar, other cities and areas bordering tribal agencies. They have deployed male and female officers to crowded places to prevent any suspicious activities.

"As many as 25 rapid response units have been deployed for security during the last few days of Ramadan and on Eid," Senior Superintendent of Police Operations for Peshawar Abbas Majeed Marwat told Central Asia Online.

About 1,800 additional police officers are on duty in and around Peshawar, he said.

"Security forces have been deployed in three layers for mosques, markets and special Eid bazaars," he said, adding that police will protect 247 mosques during Eid prayers.

"Mounted police are deployed in markets for smooth access during emergencies," he said.

Security tightened; public co-operation essential

Authorities stepped up security after militants threatened to attack Peshawar and other KP cities.

Peshawar police have set up help desks in several neighbourhoods to protect the public. The desks enable civilians to report possible threats.

"You can see the presence of police in trade centres [such as malls and bazaars] and at entry points to the city," Peshawar resident Afzal Khan, who was doing his Eid shopping, told Central Asia Online. "You feel much safer than in previous years."

Traffic police, meanwhile, are on duty till 2am in busy market areas to ensure smooth traffic.

KP Inspector General of Police Nasir Khan Durrani directed all regional and district police officers (RPOs and DPOs) to ensure foolproof security at trade centres, places of worship and other public places.

"Security has been upgraded all over the district [Kohat] ahead of Eid," Kohat DPO Sohaib Ashraf told Central Asia Online. "All the station house officers have been directed to increase patrolling, especially during prayers, and to strengthen their checkpoints."

"Our officers went to various mosques and explained how important their co-operation is in maintaining law and order and in going after any terrorist or criminal," Cantonment Superintendent of Police Kashif Zulfiqar told Central Asia Online.

Senior officers are asking the local population to notify police about anyone involved in suspicious activities and crime, he said.

Ban on celebratory gunfire

RPOs have orders to apprehend anyone shooting into the air in celebration during Chand Raat (the eve of Eid), officials said.

"Celebratory gunfire on Eid and other occasions claims precious lives," Zulfiqar said.

Kohat District residents are making every effort to prevent such dangerous celebratory shooting on Chand Raat, Ashraf said.

"All the sub-divisional officers and station house officers along with elected representatives and elders have carried out an awareness campaign to let the people know how harmful celebratory shooting is," Ashraf said.

The authorities will prosecute anyone caught doing it, he added.

In addition, the district administrations of Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda and a number of towns imposed a ban on the sale of of toy guns during Eid ul Fitr, because those toys provoke violence among youth, officials said.

Anybody violating the month-long toy gun sale ban will be prosecuted, Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud told Central Asia Online.

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