Strict security measures are planned in major Pakistani cities, including in Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Lahore, ahead of large mourning processions scheduled to take place on the 9th and 10th days of the Islamic month of Muharram (September 20 and 21), known as Ashura. Sindh provincial officials have announced that Internet and cellular services will be suspended in Karachi and other cities in the province from the hours of 07:00 (local time) to 24:00 from Wednesday, September 19, through Friday, September 21. Similar interruptions in Internet and cellular services are likely in other major cities throughout Pakistan.
Heavy contingents of police will be deployed on main roads leading to major ritual sites and along the routes of the mourning processions. Security checkpoints and road blockades are to be expected throughout the abovementioned cities.
Muharram is a month of remembrance for Muslims, who mourn from the first night of Muharram and continue for ten nights, culminating with a large procession on the 10th of Muharram, the Day of Ashura. In Pakistan in 2018, the period begins with the Islamic New Year on September 12, with Ashura observed on September 21.
As a precautionary measure, individuals present in Pakistan are advised to stay away from public gatherings, marches, and processions due to the risk of violence. Anticipate telecommunications interruptions and transportation disruptions and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.
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