LAHORE - The first phase of the annual Raiwind congregation will begin today (Thursday).  Hundreds of thousands of people within the country and abroad will attend the congregation which will conclude by the special prayer on Sunday at around 1pm. Around one million people are expected to attend the special prayer on Sunday.

The congregation has been divided into two phases. The first phase, which will continue  has been reserved for the people from Lahore, Kasur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, Narowal, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Mandi Bahauddin,  Okara, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Sargodha, Khushab, Bhakkar and Mianwali from Punjab; Peshawar, Swat, Nowshera, Charsadda, Khyber Agency, Mohmand Agency, Landi Kotal, Malakand (North), Bunair, Batkhela, Martung, Bajour, Dir, Chitral, Utmankhel, Gilgat, Bisham, Chilas, Mansehra, Abbotabad, Haripur from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; and Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Dadu, Ghotki, Larkana, Nawabshah, Tharparkar, Mitthi, Sangar, Sukkur and Thatta from Sindh while the people from the rest of cities will attend the congregation in second phase which will start on November 13.

Pakistan Railways is operating four special trains to facilitate the participants of the annual congregation. Pakistan Railways Police has made special security arrangement at Raiwind Railways Station.

The Lahore Transport Company has taken over the responsibility for providing transportation to the participants to the congregation in alliance with the private transport operators.

The company in cooperation with private transport operators will ply exclusive operation of shuttle service of around 100 buses / mini buses in order to facilitate the commuters amid Raiwand congregation (Ijtima). According to the plan Buses / Mini Buses will operate in parallel on two different route alignments. Route 1 will commence from Railway Station and General Bus Stand to Raiwand via Dharampura, Canal Road, Muslim Town Mor, Thokar Niaz Baig, Bhobtian Chowk, and Muhammad Ali Chowk to Raiwand. Whereas in accordance with Route No. 2 shuttle service will start from GBS and Railway Station via Azadi Chowk, Civil Secretariat, Chuburji, Samnabad Moor, Yateem Khana, Thokar Niaz Baig and Bhobtian Chowk to raiwand congregation.

Traffic wardens, Rescue 1122, Edhi Service besides heavy contingent of police have been deployed at Raiwind Road.