‘Prayers offered at urs to protect province’


Junaid Khanzada August 02, 2010

SEHWAN SHARIF: The colourful musical celebrations of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s urs drew to a close on Monday as people continued to dance their love and devotion till late Monday night.

Provincial minister Murad Ali Shah brought the urs to a ceremonial end by praying for the Sufi saint.

He said he had come to the shrine to pray to God for the safety of the province as the threat of floods draws closer still.

The Auqaf minister expressed his regret at not being able to provide devotees at the urs with as many arrangements as required due to the emergency created by impending floods. “I am sure that Sindh will be spared destruction by the flood because thousands of people from across the world have prayed for the province’s protection at the shrine,” he added.

Provincial minister for local bodies Agha Siraj Durrani paid his respects at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and laid a chaddar on his grave on behalf of the president.

Phase three of the renovation work on the shrine will start after the urs ends, the minister told journalists. He said Rs60 million have been allocated for the beautification of Sehwan Sharif. One third of this sum has already been handed over and development projects are under way, meanwhile the remaining Rs40 million will also be released soon.

Provincial Minister for Culture Sassui Palijo also laid a chaddar on the grave of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. She inaugurated a Qalanderi Corner at the Sehwan Museum where artefacts from Lal Shahbaz’s shrine, the fort and old city, books and other collectables are displayed. “A library, auditorium and rest house shall also be built here,” said the minister, referring to similar projects being carried out in Bhit Shah.

She also visited the media cell set up in the city to cover the urs celebrations.

Earlier, on the second day of the urs, Palijo addressed the literary conference held in tribute to Lal Shahbaz and said, “Terrorism in the country can only be fought with the help of Sufism.” She celebrated the fact that despite the instable security situation across Pakistan, Sindh was standing strong and this could be gauged by the thousands who thronged Lal Shahbaz’s shrine. “This gathering proves that people in Sindh believe in love and brotherhood,” she added.

The research centre at Bhit Shah, established in an effort to promote the literature and message of Sufi saints, will soon be raised to the status of an institute, promised Palijo at the conference. Literary figures including poets from across the country took part in the conference and shared their verses with the crowd.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2010.

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