LAHORE - The first phase of the three-day Tableeghi Ijtima concluded in Raiwind on Sunday with special prayers led by Maulana Muhammad Ibrahim for the prosperity and solidarity of the country and unity of the Muslim world.

Hundreds of thousands of people from across Pakistan and other countries attended the annual congregation in Raiwind, about 36 kilometers from Lahore. Thousands of people from across the city reached the venue in the morning to attend the special prayer that started at 08:35am and concluded at 08:52am.  Before ijtemai dua that lasted for 17 minutes, Maulana Muhammad Ibrahim briefed the participants about proper manners for offering dua.

Emotional scenes were witnessed when Maulana Muhammad Ibrahim prayed to the Almighty for forgiveness of sins, freeing country from prevailing chaos, setting aside differences and making Pakistan a strong and stable welfare state with trembling voice while tears in his eyes.

He prayed the Almighty to end chaos and make Pakistan a peaceful country, bring unity among people fighting against each other due to difference in faith. He prayed the Allah to enable Muslims to follow the teaching of Holy Quran and the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in letter and spirit. He also prayed for the unity of entire Muslim ummah by setting aside all differences. Emotional scenes were witnessed during the 17 minutes long prayers. Like the leader of the prayers, all the participants were weeping while praying to the Omnipotent.

Before the dua, Maulana Khursheed delivered the sole sermon of the day after the morning prayers. He highlighted the significance of preaching saying those sparing time for tableegh were superior to all. He said that conveying message of Allah and the messenger of God to the whole mankind is obligatory for all Muslims. He urged the participants to convey the message they have learned from sermons during the last three days to fellow Muslims.

Special security arrangements were made by the law enforcement agencies to avert any untoward incident in the wake of deteriorating law and order situation. While the police were manning entry and exits points of the venue besides a security cover all around it, the internal security and administration were handled by volunteers.

According to estimate, more than 300,000 people participated in the prayers. When they started leaving to their respective destinations, massive traffic congestion was observed at Raiwind Road and later at Multan Road and Ferozepur Road.

All the roads leading to Raiwind were closed and one-way traffic was allowed to facilitate departure of huge number of vehicles from the venue.  Due to traffic congestion, commuters remained stuck for hours. Extra traffic wardens were deployed to deal with traffic jams. It took at least four hours to the traffic police to restore normalcy on roads leading to Raiwind.