Shah Rukne Alam urs enters in its second day

BAHAWALPUR: The inaugural ceremony was presided over by former federal minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who washed the shrine with rose water. Several floral wreaths were then laid at the grave.

Later, Qureshi presided over the Shah Rukne Alam National Conference at the Bahauddin Zakariya Academy that was organized by the Auqaf Department.

Addressing the participants at the conference, Qureshi said that the current situation in Pakistan and how people dealt with it and other people in their lives were not in line with the message and teaching of Rukne Alam.

Qureshi condemned sectarian violence in the country.

He regretted that Muslims were brutally murdered in Karachi’s Abbas Town and in Quetta and Christians were made homeless in Lahore’s Badami Bagh. He urged people to change the way they thought about the minorities.

“Unless there is a change in minds and hearts, the society will never change,” he said.

He said it was a proud moment for him to be part of the celebrations.

“I feel happy to see that even after more than 700 years, people still remember and revere sufi saints and attended such events,” he said.

Pilgrims from across the country have reached the shrine. Most of the devotees expressed their concern over the security situation.

This year, the Auqaaf Department has allocated Rs173,000  for the urs that is attended by thousands of people every year. The money is spent on tents and lightings. Food stalls have not been installed by the administration this year.

Police said the security at Qasim Bagh Fort had been beefed up. All visitors, they said, were frisked and walk-through security gates were used at all the entrances.