No alternate to devotion, say shrine visitors | Pakistan Today

No alternate to devotion, say shrine visitors

The shrines in Lahore observed silence as the police ordered the shrines’ closure after the blasts at the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi on Thursday. The devotees looked demoralized and grieved but vowed to continue activities at the shrines. The security remained on high alert at all the shrines in Lahore including the shrines of Baba Shah Kamal, Mian Mir, Madhu Lal, Baba Shah Jamal and Bibi Pakdaman. Soon after the blasts in Karachi, police took control of all the significant shrines in Lahore and sealed the shrines for public entry. Only the Data Darbar that remained open but all visitors were thoroughly scanned before entry. Speaking to Pakistan Today at the shrine of Baba Shah Kamal, four devotees said, “We came from all the way from Gujranwala to attend the Thursday night’s mehfil here in Lahore, but we felt depressed and disappointed when we came to know about the bomb blast in Karachi and that all the activities in shrines were put on halt” “It is not known how the country would respond to this new kind of attacks on the sacred and religious places especially when the religious intellectuals were scattered in bits,” said the Gaddi Nashin (successor) at the Baba Shah Kamal’s shrine. The Gaddi Nashin added that they had vowed to guard the shrine by themselves. “The custom of paying homage to saints is being practiced from thousands of years and nobody can stop it; neither the police nor the terrorist. We will even sacrifice our lives for the cause of the Sufis and Islam”, said Baba Younas, the successor of Baba Shah Kamal. When asked about his reaction if the shrine’s closure was prolonged, he said, “If we leave our Sufi’s path due to terrorism, we will be deprived by the mystic beauty that currently prevails in our lives. Such a life is unacceptable to us.” When asked how to protect shrines from attacks in the future he said, “We will improve our security and ensure the safety of the devotees but will not stop activities at the shrine at any cost”. He pleaded that the government work with the shrines’ administration instead of sealing the shrines. “We are not in the favor of sealing everything that goes under the attack of terrorists. Will the government order to seal the mosques as well if terrorist’s begin to attack mosques? ” Goonga Sain, playing drums at shrines for several years, is resilient. He says, “We cannot keep ourselves away music. Banning the activities would make us apathetic and also affect our living. We make our living by play drums at shrines. It is our way of life.” Many devotees at the shrines in Karachi as well termed the suicide bombing as an unjustified assault on peaceful devotees. “How long will this assault on the country’s shrines continue?” a devotee at Data Darbar asks as he stares into the sky.

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