LAHORE - Thousands of people thronged the shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh (RA) on the second day of 965th Urs of the saint. Eminent ulema and religious leaders during different enlightening and spiritual meetings at the darbar mosque addressed the devotees. Emphasising on the life, teachings and works of the great saint, they stressed the need to follow the traditions of Data Ganj Bakhsh for facing the current challenges. Special tributes were paid to Ali Hajveri while excerpts from Data's book Kashful Mahjoob were also read and explained. Minister and secretary of Auqaf along with other officials of the provincial government also attended the first session of the morning. Meanwhile, people from across the country were arriving in the city to participate in the annual Urs at the shrine. The devotees from within the city travelled on their feet from various areas carrying chadders and floral wreaths while dancing at the drumbeats in jubilation. After the Isha prayers, a Mehfil-e-Naat was also held which was presided over by Sahibzada Pir Noorul Haq. The first day ceremonies were rounded off with 'Dua' and distribution of lungar (food). Mehfil-e-Sama begins Mehfil-e-Sama, a major event of the Urs Data Ganj Bakhsh (RA) commenced at Sama Hall Data Darbar Complex on Sunday morning. Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Chairman Data Darbar Religious Purposes Committee were the chief guest while Punjab Minister for Auqaf Haji Ihsanuddin Qureshi was the guest of honour. Secretary Auqaf Khizar Hayat Gondal, Chairman Muttahida Ulema Board Sahibzada Fazle Karim, Director General Religious Affairs Auqaf Dr Tahir Raza Bokhari, Pir Khalil-ur-Rehman Chishti, Ch Zulfiquar Ali, Ch Mohammad Ali, Administrator Data Darbar Rao Fazl-ur-Rehman, other senior officials and eminent Ulema as well as Mashaikh were also present. Ihsanuddin Qureshi inaugurated the mehifil-e-sama. Qari Ghulam Rasool recited the holy verses while Altaf-ur-Rehman Pasha and Abdur Rehman Jami presented spirited Na'at. Renowned qawwals including Mehr Ali Sher, Nazir Ahmad Ijaz Faridi, Moulvi Ahmad Hassan and others presented religious poetry and 'Manqabat' Data Gunj Bakhsh. Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman Sama Committee Ch Zulfiqar Ali urged for setting up 'sama' academy for the training of qawwals. He also called for expansion of Darbar Mosque up to Bhatti Chowk. The Minister Auqaf welcomed the proposals. Dr Ismatullah Zahid conducted the programme. The qawwali will run round the clock except prayers timings and will be rounded little before the Fajr prayers on Tuesday. Special programmes of Sunday and Monday are also being relayed on Pakistan Radio. Special edition A local Urdu magazine Khak-e-Watan has published a special edition on Data Ganj Bakhsh (RA) in connection with his annual Urs celebrations. The special edition, containing informative articles and material about the life and teaching of Ali Hajveri was in great demand among his devotees. It also carries Allama Iqbal's verses on Ali Hajveri and Qaseeda Burda Sharif as well. The Managing Editor of the magazine S Ashfaq Ahmad presented the magazine to Sen Ishaq Dar, provincial minister and secretary Auqaf and others at the Data Darbar.