Thousands throng on Karachi streets to mark Ashura

Ashura marks end of 10-day rituals to mourn the death of Hazrat Imam Hussein.

Karachi: Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of Karachi on Friday to mark Ashura and took part in massive processions that passed off without any major incident in the presence of unprecedented security arrangements.

Thousands of policemen, women and the paramilitary rangers supervised the security arrangements as men, women and children dressed in black beat themselves with fists, knives and chains and recited prayers marking the 10th day of Muharram.

Last year, a bomb blast in the Ashura procession had killed around 50 and injured dozens as the mourners passed through the MA Jinnah road.

This year, the law enforcement agencies had sealed all the routes and by-lanes where the procession passed with helicopters also hovering above meet any eventuality.

"By the grace of God everything has gone smoothly today and our security arrangements have been successful," Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza said.

The law enforcement agencies had ordered all shops and markets on MA Jinnah road to shut down for three days as part of the security arrangements made in view of the increasing terrorism threats from the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban and other militant outfits.

Ashura marks the end of the 10-day rituals to mourn the death of Hazrat Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad.

Hazrat Imam Hussein was killed by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD.

Tradition holds that he was decapitated and his body mutilated in the battle at Karbala, now in Iraq.

Shi’ites make up around 15 percent of Muslims worldwide.

They represent the majority populations in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain and form significant communities n Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.