Ajmer, April 8: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti might make diplomatic waves but it is small businessmen who will bear the brunt of his 30-minute stay at the shrine as the city will be completely shut down during his visit.
Always abuzz with domestic and foreign devotees, the streets of Ajmer will wear a deserted look as all the shops will remain closed between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. as a security measure.
“What is all this fuss about Zardari’s visit? We will have to close our shops for five hours. It’s a huge loss to us,” said 21-year-old florist Khursheed Alam, whose shop is a stone’s throw from the shrine.
Mohammad Nasrul, who sells readymade garments, said: “The ties between India and Pakistan will not become any good if they force us shut our shops. I not against Zardari’s visit but why do we have to suffer?”
Aslam, a tea stall vendor, said: “I don’t understand these high profile visits. Just because of Zardari’s, visit thousands of devotees who have come from outside will not be able to enter the dargah. What will they do during these five hours?”