LAHORE: The 974th three-day annual urs of Syed Hasan Ali bin Usman bin Ali Al-Jalabi Al- Hajveri, also known as Data Ganj Bakhsh (RA), started with full religious zeal and traditional fervour in the provincial capital on Wednesday. On the occasion, foolproof security arrangements were made to avoid any untoward incident. Celebrations of urs started formally with the laying of a traditional ‘chadar’ and floral wreath on the grave, which was done by Minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs Zaeem Qadri in the presence of Data Darbar Khateeb Mufti Muhammad Ramzan Sialvi Ulema, Aziz ul Rehman Chan, Mashaikh and government officials and officers of all departments concerned.Like each year, urs of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh (RA) is observed in the Islamic month of Safar (18-20 Safar). Data Darbar Khateeb Mufti Muhammad Ramzan Sialvi offered prayers and fateha for the prosperity, religious harmony, stability, progress, peace and solidarity of country.On the first day, thousands of devotees, admirers and followers from across the world attended celebrations of the Sufi saint. They also lit incense sticks, earthen lamps and candles, and offered prayers. On the occasion, special stalls (sabeel) of milk and langar (charity food) were also set up for the visitors. A large number of devotees could be seen at these stalls, waiting in queues for getting milk. This distribution of free milk will continue until the last day of the urs. A number of religious scholars, mashaikh, renowned qawwals and naat khawans from across the world will participate in the urs to perform spiritual mahafils of qawwalis and naats.Special security arrangements were made for the urs to prevent any untoward incident. Police and the shrine administration appealed to all the visitors not to carry any luggage with them while visiting the shrine. It is pertinent to mention here that the Vegetable Market on Ravi Road will be closed in connection with the urs. The PFA’s food safety teams have also checked the food quality at the free food stalls and shown satisfaction over the quality of milk and other food items being distributed.Published in Daily Times, November 9th 2017.