Sehwan hosts half-a-million pilgrims on second day of Qalandar urs

Published March 2, 2024
SEHWAN: Faqirs whirl in trans in the courtyard of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine on the second day of his Urs celebrations, on Friday.— Umair Ali
SEHWAN: Faqirs whirl in trans in the courtyard of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine on the second day of his Urs celebrations, on Friday.— Umair Ali

DADU: An estimated half-a-million men, women and children packed the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and its close vicinities in Sehwan city on Friday to attend the 772nd urs of the revered saint on the second day of the celebration.

Celebrated for three consecutive days every year, the urs always attracts Qalandar’s devotees, who start thronging Sehwan several days before the formal inauguration of the celebration, from across the country and also from some other countries.

Soon after Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori formally inaugurated the urs celebration a day before, many groups of devotees, each holding green chaddar with Quranic verses embroidered on it, walk up to the great saint’s grave to spread over it as a mark of respect and religious ritual. They and other people present in the shrine’s courtyard keep raising slogans symbolically calling the Qalandar for favour in blessing of God.

On the second day of the urs again, thousands of people kept struggling to get into the shrine in a disciplined manner and leave it, after praying close to the grave for a couple of minutes to make space for others to follow suit. Like the first day’s deliberations, Sughar Kachehri (a mystic and folk music session), Mulakhro (contests of Sindh’s traditional wrestling) and book fair attracted big crowds of visitors.

Board, lodging and security arrangements

Arrangements have been made to facilitate parking of several hundred thousand motorbikes, cars, coasters, buses and other vehicles in the designated, marked away from the shrine to ensure free movement of such a large number of devotees and other visitors. Big vehicles were not allowed to move closer to it.

Walkthrough gates were installed at all entry/exit points where security personnel checked incoming people with metal detectors. Every vehicle was also checked by police and bomb disposal squad members.

A large number of people travelled to Sehwan from Punjab by a special train while those coming from different parts of Sindh and other provinces opted for regular train services.

The people who were accommodated in the camps and tents pitched for their brief stay were seen complaining about unavailability of essentially required facilities and proper living arrangements, especially cleanliness, drinking water and uninterrupted electricity supply.

Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner Ali Zulfikar Memon,

SSP Mohammad Tariq Nawaz, Sehwan Assistant Commissioner Mohammad Ali Gopang, Major Mohammad Atta of the Sindh Rangers and Pakistan Navy’s commandos inspected various sites to review the living and security arrangements across Sehwan.

They also visited Aral Wah near Lal Bagh by boat to see that no pilgrim resorted to bathe in the canal as several persons had drowned last year.

They appealed to the pilgrims to avoid bathing in the canal, rather, use the showers fixed for them in an adequate number.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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