Data Sahib Urs Begins Today

LAHORE: The thee-day celebrations of 976th annual Urs of Hazrat Ali bin Usman Hajveri (RA) known as Data Ganj Bakhsh has started from today on Friday escorted by Minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs Saeedul Hasan Shah.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar will open the three-day festivities by putting a floral wreath and opening milk Sabeel at the shrine of 10th century saint who was among the pioneers of preaching and spreading Islam in the sub-continent, particularly in Punjab.

According to traditions the milk-sellers donate thousands of litres of milk for the milk Sabeel to be distributed among the devotees and visitors. Millions of devotees and visitors from all parts of the country come to witness the Urs and offer special prayers, whereas devotees from India, Saudi Arabia, Europe and the United States have also come to attend the Urs. A number of philanthropists provide them food as part of worship, while Auqaf Department has allocated Rs10 million for Langar and other ceremonies. The district administration has taken all compulsory measures to maintain peace and security during the Urs.

The festivities had already begun with the three-day international Seerat Conference inaugurated by Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar titled ‘role of Hazrat Ali Hajveri (RA) in building Islamic civilisation in the sub-continent’, presided over by the Minister for Religious Affairs Saeedul Hasan Shah. Various seminars of preachers, spiritual gatherings, Qirat and Naat competitions, debate contests, seminars on Tasawwuf and spiritualism, lectures of religious scholars, etc. will also be held in Urs ceremonies. The Auqaf minister told the media that sufficient arrangements have been made for holding the Urs in collaboration with the district administration for boarding and lodging of devotees. He said Secretary Auqaf Zulfiqar Ahmad Ghumman and DG Auqaf Dr Tahir Raza Bukhari would oversee the arrangements for the Urs ceremonies.

The minister said besides the arrangements, foolproof security arrangements have been made and in this regard a central control room was set up with 143 close circuit cameras installed at different points. He said over 2,000 police personnel including three SPs and seven DSPs and 450 volunteers would perform security duties. Twelve walkthrough gates and metal detectors have been provided for security of devotees. He said lady police constables have also been appointed in the ladies portion of the Mazar, besides volunteers of different volunteer organizations will also perform duty on the occasion. The minister said 74 security guards have also been provided by a private security agency.

He said special arrangements have been made to check the incidents of pick-pocketing. He said bomb disposal squads will also be present all the time for coping with any emergency situation. He said special traffic plan has also been made for smooth flow of traffic on this occasion.

Besides a large number of Ulema, Mashaikhs, spiritual leaders and Gaddi Nasheens from all over the country will participate in the preaching congregations and meetings. These gatherings will be presided over by noted personalities like Syed Ahmad Ashraf Shah, Ghulam Qutubuddin, Nazeer Ali Shah, Baqar Ali Shah while prominent among the participants were Khwana Abul Khair, Samsam Ali Shah, Abdul Shakoor Hazarvi, Sufi Ashraf Masoomi, Siddiq Hazarvi, Mufti Khan Mohammad Qadri, Ashraf Asif Jalali, Prof Zafarul Haq, Abdul Tawwab Siddiqi, Fida Hussain Shah, Hafeezullah Mehrvi, Mehmood Ahmad Qadri and others. They will also offer special prayers for national security and prosperity and for wellbeing of Muslim Ummah.

Rescue 1122 staff will be active and alert with five ambulances. Special measures have been made at the hospitals in the vicinity around the shrine. He explained that Traffic police will facilitate the devotees.