LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has stressed the need for forging unity and stepping up joint efforts to maintain peace.

Talking to PML-N lawmakers from various districts, he said: “The country has been passing through a critical situation as anti-state elements are hatching conspiracies. The menace of extremism and terrorism has hampered national development.”

He said ethnic, linguistic and sectarian disputes have pushed the country into a depressing situation. He said the elements playing with the lives of innocent people do not deserve to be called human.

“Religious scholars should play their role for promoting interfaith harmony. Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood and ulema and mashaikh should spread this message, ”he added.

The chief minister said stressed the need for forging unity to combat the menace of sectarianism especially in Muharram. He laid stress on stepped up effort to foil the foil the evil designs of the enemies.

He also took swipe at the federal government for its failure in serving the masses, saying: “Pakistan has facing serious problems while the PPP-led coalition has been dragging its feet over the matter.”

About his government’s precautionary measures, he said all necessary steps had been taken to protect life and property of people in Muharrum, especially on Ashura. Separately, Syed Sajid Mehdi from Burewal called on the Punjab chief minister and discussed political matter of his area with Shahbaz.

Directives: Punjab Cabinet Committee on Muharramul Haram Arrangements Chairman Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa has issued directives to ensure security and cleanliness of routes of procession.

He issued these directives while presiding over a high level meeting held to review Muharram arrangements at Darbar Hall Civil Secretariat Friday. The meeting was also attended by Special Assistants to CM Punjab, Kh Salmaan Rafique, Jehanzeb Barki, members of national and provincial assembly, secretary home, officers of police, special branch and agencies and other concerned departments.

He directed the district administration to strictly implement the ban on misuse of loud speaker and keep a vigilant eye on the ulema and zaakireen whose entry is banned into the districts. Khosa directed DPOs of all the districts to patrol the city in plain clothes and private vehicles.

He said that the members of Ittehand Bainul Muslimeen will accompany the processions.

He directed ACs of all the districts to keep a close contact with their concerned members of national and provincial assemblies. He said that instructions have been given to the doctors to remain present in all the hospitals of the province as well and blood banks and their concerned institutions to be alert.

Later, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa along with members assembly, police and administrative officers, inspected the route of the procession to be taken out on 9th Muharram from Jain Mandar, Khemae-e Sadat and Islampura. He directed that proper lights system should be made at University Ground.

He directed that more lady police force should be deputed at Karbla Gamey Shah. He also inspected the control room set up in DCO office. DCO informed that 119 CCTV cameras have been installed for the coverage of procession of 9th and 10th Muharram.

He further told that 80 CCTV cameras will cover Nisar Haveli, whereas, 36 cameras will cover the procession of Islampura. Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa also inspected the latest equipment of bomb disposal and checked its performance.