KARACHI: Large number of devotees including women and children, amid the mixed noises of venders selling different kinds of items, dismounting from the buses, cars and other vehicles to pay the homage to the great saint of Sindh Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi on his three day-long urs being held from Zilhaj 20-22. Every year large number of devotees turn up to seek the blessings of sufi saint. This year too unending queue of people waiting for their turn to pass through security gates was witnessed amid tight security measures. Thousands of people not only from Karachi but from every corner of the country come to pay homage to the great saint. Religious seminars as well as musical conferences and Qawalis are organized on this auspicious occasion. Many deeply inspired by the saint visit to get their desired fulfilled, according to their beliefs. As part of security measures the shrine has been sealed and security officials swept the shrine for security clearance before the official inauguration of the Urs. At least 180 security personnel including police and rangers have been deployed to thwart any mishap. Officials expect even more larger number of devotees will participant in the events of Urs this year. “There are at least 150 volunteers while the Auqaf department has deployed only 50 to 60 people”, said Zahid, a Urs Coordinator. Food is routinely distributed among the devotees which is bought by the visitors. Varieties of Biryani are cooked in bulk and have different rates for each ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1000. “Shah Welcomes all; all accept cyclones”, said one of the devotees. The Sufi saint is considered by many as the saviour of the city from disasters mainly see bound. “We call him Shahensha-e-Karachi (The emperor of Karachi) as he saves people of Karachi whenever they face difficulty or any disaster”, said Punhal Khan Shar, an Assistant manager, who is working here for the last three years, adding “many times the flood was turned back due to the blessings of pious sufi-saint. After the shrine was built, there was only salty water found in the area. Ghazi’s followers were concerned about not having access to clean drinking water, when out of nowhere, a spring of fresh drinking water started trickling behind the shrine. His devotees claim the water, which flows to this day, has healing properties. There is a fountain at the bottom of the hill of the shrine from where many devotees drink water and to get their wounds and diseases healed. “If anyone has any serious disease and doctors have refused to treat, the person comes here to use the water and gets healed and survives”, believes Rani, one of the devotees. Published in Daily Times, September 14th 2017.