PAKPATTAN: The 778th annual congregation at the shrine of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar in Pakpattan kicked off on Sunday.
Sajada Nasheen Dewan Ahmed Masood Chishti inaugurated the ‘Mehfil-i-Sama’ on Saturday night. Thousands of devotees from across Pakistan and abroad had already arrived in Pakpattan to participate in the Urs.
The Urs began with special prayers for the safety and security of the country, end of the novel coronavirus pandemic and for the independence of Indian occupied Kashmir.
Given the threat of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, it was earlier decided to permit a limited number of devotees to attend the rites of the Urs of Baba Farid-ud-Din Ganj Shakar this year.
Traditionally the Urs celebrations started five days before Muharram, they formally began on Muharram 1 and would end on the 10th.
It had also been decided that the Bahishti Darwaza of the shrine would be opened only for two nights, instead of traditional five nights.
The auqaf department had established special water stalls, while devotees are also served with a ‘langar’.
The police department has made special arrangements to provide foolproof security during the Urs celebrations.
Earlier, the officials had proposed to the provincial government to postpone the Urs this year as it was beyond the district administration’s capacity to ensure implementation of COVID-19 SOPs during the 10-day activity.
However, shrine caretaker Dewan Madood Masood Chishti strongly opposed the proposal and demanded that instead of cancelling the Urs rites, the event should be permitted to be held with limited participation, by ensuring the SOPs.
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