Pakistani PM prays for peace, better sub-continental relations



Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, along with his wife and other family members, Saturday evening offered prayers in Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti's shrine for peace and prosperity in the world and better relations between India and Pakistan, informed sources said.

Wearing a white Pathan suit, Ashraf also offered a 42 meter long green and blue chadar which he brought from Pakistan at the shrine, shrine sources told IANS.

During the prayers inside the dargah, he also promised to return if his "wish" is fulfilled.

"He wished for something in the dargah and said he will come again," said a khadim, the religious officials authorized to carry out prayers at the shrine.

Khadims (workers) of the Dargah claim to be descendants of the Sufi saint.

"He (Ashraf) said to the members of the Anjuman (a committee of khadims) that he is fortunate enough to be in this sacred place with his family. He said that he found a sense of peace at this place," added a khadim.

Ashraf, along with his family and delegation, landed at the Gughra helipad in three helicopters at about 3.40 p.m.

In view of the heavy protests in the city, Ashraf was taken to the Dargah under heavy security through the city which was virtually turned into a fortress.

The route of the convoy was changed at the last minute as the lawyers came out on roads in front of the district and session court to protest.
The dargah's 'diwan' Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, who traditionally greets foreign heads of state, did not turn up to welcome Ashraf as he had already announced his decision to boycott the visit. Ashraf was welcomed by Mohammad Afzal, the acting Nazim and members of Anjuman committee.

Entering into the Dargah at about 4.10 p.m., Ashraf seemed to be in a cheerful mood. He sat on the floor and offered prayers inside as he offered the chadar and flowers.

"He was just like a common pilgrim coming to the Dargah," said Natiq Chishti, a khadim who was inside the Dargah.

Khadim Sayed Bilal Chishti performed the rituals and Ashraf's family members also offered prayers in the Dargah.

Ashraf also roamed inside the premises of the Dargah where the secretary of Anjuman committee Sayed Wahed Angra explained the history and teachings of Khwaja Garib Nawaz.

"We welcomed Ashraf here and also performed the customs as we are khadims and it is our duty to do that" said Angara.

Ashraf also gave a closed envelope to Sayed Bilal Chishty as a 'nazrana' (offering) and also offered Pakistani Rs.11,000 in the 'badi deg'.

"He wrote in the guest book of the Anjuman in Urdu: 'I and my family are fortunate enough to be here in such a sacred place. I wish peace in the world and especially in Pakistan'," said Maulan Manovar, a khadim.

The Pakistani delegations remained about forty minutes inside the dargah and again went back to the helipad on way back to Jaipur, from where they will fly back to Pakistan. - IANS