Annual urs: Crowds gather but numbers down

Security risk paramount in minds as people head to Darbars.

Our Correspondent February 26, 2012

LAHORE: Thousands of devotees paid tributes to Hazrat Baba Shah Jamal in the first two days of the three-day urs of the sufi which will conclude on Monday.

Celebrations of the 384th urs began on Saturday after Fajr prayers. Auqaf Secretary Mehmood Pasha performed the chaddar poshi after Asr prayers. Auqaf Department officials said that attendance had dropped from the previous year. Stalls of sweets lined Shah Jamal Road. A crowd gathered around a malang playing tongs. Sessions of naat and sama started after Maghrib prayers on Saturday and continued till early on Sunday morning. Similar sessions were also held on Sunday night as well. The urs will conclude on Monday after Asr prayers with a formal dua.

Auqaf Department security personnel head Rashid Saleem said tight arrangements had been made for the urs. He said that police personnel including three female constables had also been deployed around the shrine. He said the Auqaf Department had also deputed 14 security guards including eight from a private security company. He said two of the female guards had also been deployed at the women’s entrance.

An Auqaf Department official said that after the attacks on shrines, some people had stopped visiting the darbars in view of perceived security risk.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2012.

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