Ajmer, April 7: All is set to welcome Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and his family at the 13th century tomb of a mystic saint here and caretakers of the revered shrine have planned special prayers and gifts for their high profile guests from across the border.
Syed Iqbal Kaptan, one of the caretakers at the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti shrine, told IANS that Zardari will be honoured with a red turban tied round his head, an ancient ritual performed at the shrine for guests.
Kaptan, in his early 40s, said he is going to present Zardari and his son Bilawal two silver rings each studded with nine gems — navratnas.
And for his two daughters — Bakhtawar and Asifa — there will be two silver bracelets as a gift from the caretaker who claims to have assisted Zardari’s late wife Benazir Bhutto, a former Pakistan prime minister, in her prayers when she visited the shrine in 2005.
The committee of the caretakers, known as khadims, of the shrine will also gift the Zardaris a silver model of the tomb of sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a mystic revered by people from across faiths in the sub-continent.
Kaptan said he will take the guests around the tomb after they enter the shrine from the Hyderabad Nizam gate, where a shehnai band will play shaadiana — music of auspiciousness and sanctity — to welcome the Zardaris.
The caretaker fondly remembers his rendezvous with Benazir and said the family has a long tradition of visiting the shrine.
‘I will miss her presence. When she was here last, she prayed for peace in the world.’
He said the Zardaris will spend some time in solitude at the shrine amid high security arrangements.
The Pakistan delegation, which includes Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other officials, will land in Delhi Sunday morning.
After lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, they will fly to Jaipur in a special aircraft from where they will leave for the shrine, most probably in helicopters to land at the Ghughara helipad near Ajmer.
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)