“Shah Shams Tabrez’s teachings should be used to promote harmony between different sects of Islam,” said Auqaf Minister Ehsaanuddin Qureshi on Saturday.
He was speaking to a gathering on the second day of the urs of Shah Shams Tabrez in Multan.
Qureshi said the saint had been a vocal supporter of peaceful coexistence of different faiths. He later laid a floral wreath on the tomb of the saint.
Other activities on the second day included a naat recitation ceremony and Sham-i-Qalandar. Qawalis on Shah Shams’s poetry were performed at the Sham-i-Qalandar. The event had started at midnight on Friday and continued throughout the second day on Saturday.
The 761st urs celebrations had been inaugurated on Friday by Nayyar Abbas Shamsi, the current successor of the saint. Shamsi had led prayers and distributed some of the blessed food among the devotees.
The three day celebrations will end on Sunday (today).
Thousands of people flock to the shrine from various cities of south Punjab and interior Sindh.
The devotees were not hampered by the scorching heat of the city, where mercury touched 48 degree Celsius on Saturday.
Ali Yaqteen, a visitor, said he had not missed the ceremonies for over five years. He said he had been drawn to the saint by learning his teachings on peace and interfaith harmony.
Behlol Ali, another visitor, said he had been visiting the saint’s shrine for 23 years. “My family has been devoted to Shah Shams for generations. I was introduced to the saint in my adolescent years. I will now bring my children to the shrine when they grow up,” he said.
Stern security measures have been put in place for the urs. The city police have deployed 200 officials for security duties in and around the shrine, Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Gohar Nafees told The Tribune. He said barriers have been erected on all entrances to the shrine where people entering and leaving the premises undergo a security check.
The district administration has installed electric power generators at the shrine to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity
Aufaq Department, Civil Defence and Rescue 1122 have set up separate camps to assist the visitors and too deal with any possible emergency.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.
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