Thousands gather for Data Sahib’s urs

LAHORE: The 967th urs of the great Sufi saint Hazrat Ali Hajveri (RA), popularly known as Data Gunj Bakhsh (RA), began on Sunday.Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah inaugurated the three-day urs with the traditional cloth-laying ceremony at the saint’s shrine. He also inaugurated milk sabeels (free distribution of milk) around the mausoleum. Eminent ulema and mashaikh, senior officials of Auqaf department and a large number of devotees attended the ceremony.The first day ceremonies also include a mehfil-e-qirat, speeches by ulema at the Data Darbar mosque, which continued until midnight followed by the distribution of lungar and prayers for the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan.Traders and merchants from all over the province have set up bazaars around the Darbar, where handicrafts and products of various regions have put up for sale. The provincial Auqaf Department has imposed restrictions on illegal and un-Islamic activities during the urs and banned all kinds of circuses and theatres.The department has made foolproof security arrangements to ensure the safety of the devotees coming from across the country. Data Darbar was struck by a bomb blast last year. In this regard, 80 cameras have been installed to monitor the event. Some 300 policemen, nine walk-through gates and metal detectors have been provided to the security staff for this purpose. In addition to this, 65 security guards from the Auqaf Department and 102 from private agencies have also been deputed at the venue.As many as 200 workers have been tasked with keeping the Darbar premises clean, while camp offices of different departments, including WAPDA, WASA, Civil Defence and have been set up for the urs. First aid facility will also be available to cope with emergencies – Dailytimes