Pakistani ‘zaireen’ pilgrims arrive at Roorkee amid tight security for annual Urs
A group of 152 Pakistani pilgrims on Friday arrived at Piran Kaliyar near Roorkee in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar for a week-long “Urs” at the Sabir Pak Dargahdehradun Updated: Dec 01, 2017 21:07 IST
A group of 152 Pakistani pilgrims on Friday arrived at Piran Kaliyar near Roorkee in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar for a week-long “Urs” at the Sabir Pak Dargah.
The pilgrims popularly known as “zaireen” arrived by the Lahori Express and were received by representatives of the district administration, social organisations and residents at the Roorkee railway station.
Since independence, Pakistani pilgrims are allowed to visit Piran Kaliyar once in a year as a “goodwill gesture” during the “Urs” or death anniversary of Sufi saint Hajrat Syed Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kaliyari.
Both Muslim and Hindu devotees seek the blessings of the Sufi saint during the Urs. This is the 478th death anniversary of the Sufi saint.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from across the country, Pakistan, Bangaldesh and Saudi Arabia come to participate in the Urs.
Security was beefed up at the railway station and along the route till the Sabir guest house at Piran Kaliyar in view of the pilgrims’ journey.
The pilgrims were ferried on state transport roadways buses till the guest house, where entry of local people is banned.
Amid threat perception from right-wing Hindu groups, police snipers, commandos and intelligence sleuths have been deployed in and around the guest house and the route the zaireen will take to visit the dargah on Saturday and pray and pay homage to the Sufi saint on the occasion of “barahfaat”.
Piran Kaliyar police station in-charge Surya Bhushan Negi, said round the clock security cover has been provided for the pilgrims.
Closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs)have been installed at the guest house and the dargah premises, he said.
“Along with monitoring CCTV footage, sniffer dogs and bomb disposal squads have also deployed.”
Pakistani pilgrim squad leader Rashid Shamim said they feel at home here in India and the warm reception given to them on their arrival is “an unforgettable moment for them”.
“A large number of devotees from Pakistan wish to come here but due to visa restrictions and other protocol, only 100 to 200 pilgrims are allowed each season,” he said.
“We want the governments of both the countries to allow more pilgrims to spread the message of peace and goodwill.”
Piran Kaliyar legislator Furkan Ahmed welcomed the pilgrims and said the annual fair is popular among Muslims of other countries besides Pakistan.
In 2014, 179 pilgrims had arrived from Pakistan followed by 170 in 2015 and 148 in 2016.