KHAIRPUR, May 4: Celebrations marking Jashn-i-Latif began here on Thursday night under the aegis of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

A musical programme held at the Colonel Shah Hostel ground began with sufi singer Motan Shah and his group presenting the poetry of Shah Latif.

Provincial Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs Qamar Mansoor and senior officials attended the musical night.

Other artistes who were scheduled to perform at the function included Ahmed Mughal, Gul Hassan Gul, Shafi Faqeer, Wazir Ali, Mazhar Hussain, Haneef Lashari, Iqrar Waheed Ali, Saima Manzoor and Wahid Bux Lashari.

Thousands of people, including a large number of women, were present.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain had announced a couple of months ago to mark 2006 as the year of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and to hold different programmes in this connection throughout the province.

MQM office-bearers, workers and people from across the province are arriving here for the festival.

Separate arrangements have been made for women at the venue decorated with colourful banners, inscribed with poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. Walls have been adorned with posters and flags of the Muttahida.

Popular artistes and folk singers Humera Channa, Manzoor Sakhirani, Shahneela Ali, Suhrab Faqeer, Jamal Faqeer, Juman Shah and his group (Sufi singers, who recite poetry of Shah Abdul Latif at the shrine of Bhittai), Taj Mastani, Shaman Ali Meerali, Qadir Bux Mitho, Sanam Marvi, Shazia Khushik and others have also been invited for the programme.

Roads linking to the ground have been decked with buntings and lights to welcome guests and participants. A 60-foot-long and 40-foot-wide stage has been erected for the functions.

Two medical camps have been set up for emergencies and two stalls have been established outside the ground where party literature, MQM flags, badges and portraits of party chief Altaf Hussain are available.

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