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Published in the 1-15 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Musharraf visits Ajmer

By Syed Afzal Ali Shah

The Milli Gazette Online

Ajmer: A date which he had missed four years ago, in July 2001, the General finally made it to Ajmer sharif, at the start of his three-day visit to India. Arriving at the Jaipur Sanganer airport, en route to Ajmer, the General was received at the airport by the state chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and was accorded a warm welcome by her and state ministers. The General left after a short stay in a convoy of four helicopters. After a short flight of 20 minutes, the General landed in Ajmer. It is said that only those come to Ajmer who are called by the great saint, and so finally the wish of the Pakistani President was fullfilled on 16 April. 

"I have come with a message of Aman (peace)”

"I have come with a message of Aman (peace)”

The President who was dressed in an immaculate white Pathani suit, symbolizing the message of peace which he brought with his visit, came with his wife Begum Sehba and a high level delegation which consisted of external affairs minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, Information Minister Rashid Ahmed, finance minister and the Pakistani High Commisioner to India, Aziz Ahmed Khan and 19 other delegates. The city of Ajmer which was virtually turned into a military cantonment for the visit, wore a deserted look on this day unlike 1987, when the then President of Pakistan General Ziaul Haq had visited Ajmer and was welcomed with open hands by the citizens of the town. President Musharraf drove straight to the holy shirne and went straight to the mousoleum and spent about 18 minutes inside it. Coming outside, the Prez was seen wearing a pink turban which as tradition goes, is put on important visitors’ heads by a khadim of the dargah. Here the khadim was Syed Natiq Chishti who performed the function and presented him with tabarruk of the holy shirne. The President prayed inside and the khadim and the official Anjuman Syedzadgan also prayed for him and for the success of his visit to India.

Coming out of the shirne, the President sat outside the tomb of the daughter of Khawaja Sahib on the marble floor and wrote in the visitor’s book of the Anjuman saying that "I consider it my honour as also of my country’s delegation to have prayed at the shrine of the most revered saint, Hazrat Mohommad Hasan Chishti. Let my own prayers for peace, harmony and amity between Pakistan and India and prosperity of both the countries be answered."
The President then walked out of the mausoleum amidst the shouting of the waiting media but was forced by his security people to move forward, but the Presidnet in his amicable style came back after a few steps to speak to the media, though he did not answer their questions. He said, "I , my wife and the delegation, are happy to visit the holy shirne of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti and have come with a message of aman (peace).I have prayed for peace and for the prosperity of the people of Pakistan and Hindustan and for the development of both the countries." Smiling with the pink pagri still on his head and flanked by his ever-sombre foreign minister, the President walked towards the exit gate. He was presented tabarruks, sweets and two beautiful chadars for the tombs of Data Ganjbakhsh and Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, whose tombs are in Pakistan and both were followers of the great sufi saint of Ajmer, Khawaja Moinuddin Chisty (R.A.).

The two chadars presented by the Anjuman depict a new aspect of spiritual connection between India and Pakistan through the Sufi saint Khawaja sahib who had all his life spread the message of peace, love and harmony in the Indian subcontinent during the 11th century. In another gesture of goodwill and peace, the secretary of the Ajuman Sarwar Chishti presented a bouquet of flowers to Gen Musharraf. Sarwar Chishti said, "A bouquet is a perfect symbol of the blossoming of the frienship between India and Pakistan. It demonstrates that the Ajmer Dargah will always remain a source of peace and harmony not only in this country but at the international level too"

The Prez who had also brought a well-crafted chadar for the Mazar sharif, along with three packets of sweets with the message of peace, presented the gifts to his khadim Natiq Chishti before his departure.

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