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Pak PM prays for peace amid protests

P J Joychen, jaipur Mar 9, 2013, DHNS 2:59 IST

BJP workers try to ‘purify’ dargah after Ashraf’s visit

Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf gestures after offering prayers at the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer on Saturday. REUTERS
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Parvesh Ashraf on Saturday evening prayed for peace at the 13th century shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti under heavy security. There were protests in Ajmer over the beheading of Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops at the Line of Control.

Some saffron outfits (the BJP, VHP and Shiv Sena) and the Ajmer Bar Association protested against the visit of the Pakistan prime minister shouting slogans but were dispersed by the police. After the Pakistani delegation left, a group of BJP workers led by Ajmer MLA Vasudev Devnani sprinkled water on Dargah Bazar road leading to the shine as a mark of purification.

The Dewan and descendents of the Sufi saint Zainul Abedin Ali Khan had already queered the pitch by boycotting Ashraf over Pakistan army’s brutality along the LoC and promoting hatred and terrorism against India.

Ashraf left for Ajmer in the afternoon after having luncheon meeting with Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid who flown in from Delhi to welcome the visiting dignitary at the Rambagh Palace hotel here.

The 32-member Pakistan delegation mainly comprising the family of the prime minister was offered a traditional welcome at the hotel with decorated tuskers and camels with Rajasthani dancers in toe. Both leaders shook hands for a photo opportunity on arrival at the hotel before lunch.

After seeing off Ashraf at Ajmer, Khurshid in a short interaction with the media said: “This was a private visit. People from all over the world come to Ajmer sharif for pilgrimage.”

Responding to a question on whether terrorism was discussed, he said: “This was not the occasion nor did I have the authority to discuss such issues.”

Peace for Pakistan

After lunch Ashraf’s entourage left for Ajmer in three helicopters. There, at the Ajmer Sharif, Ashraf placed a green chadar (sacred cloth) on the dargah. In his comment on the visitors’ diary, He wrote: “I pray for peace in the world, and peace and prosperity in Pakistan.”

Considering the chances of protest, the administration changed the route of Ashraf from Dhudhara helipad to the dargha at the last minute. Many lawyers who were waiting at the court churaya came to know of the change after the delegation reached the dargah. Then they reached the Kesarbagh chouki and started raising slogans. The police dispersed the group using mild force and detained 34 people. According to sources, two people were injured in police action.

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