ISLAMABAD - The annual 'Urs' of great Sufi Saint Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi Mashhadi, more known as Bari Imam, is starting in Nurpur Shahan today (Sunday) with spiritual zeal and fervour. Thousands of devotees of Bari Imam have already camped in and around his shrine situated at the foothills of Margalla near Prime Minister's House to take part in the five-day festivity. The Urs celebrations, which will continue till coming Friday, attract over a million people from around the country every year who come here to pay homage to great Sufi Saint. The devotees of Bari Imam were already arriving here from almost all parts of the country through all kinds of modes and styles since last week. Many of them came here walking barefooted from miles' distance while others are coming on buses, cars, horsebacks and by air. To greet the guests of Imam, locals have renovated their houses and shops ahead of the great festivity amid tight security arrangements from law enforcement agencies, especially policies, besides food and lodging arrangements by civic authorities. Peoples from all walks of life, including women and children, young and old, will keep on coming to Nurpur Shahan in five days of Urs for paying tribute to great services of Bari Imam for Islam, peace, Sufism and humanity beyond any religious boundary. Syed Abdul Latif Shah Kazmi Mashhadi, more known as Bari Imam, was born in 1026 Hijri (1617 AD) in village Choli Karsal at District Chakwal.  Bari's father, Syed Mehmood Hussain Shah Kazmi was himself a religious scholor and a renowned Sufi. Syed Mehmood Hussain Shah was also widely respected for being educated from prestigious institutions of Iraq in good old days. In the later years of his life, Syed Abdul Latif Shah moved to village Bagh Kalan in Islamabad along with rest of his family, a place that presently holds Aabpara, the commercial heartland of modern Islamabad. During the life at Bagh Kalan, the Syed family used to earn its bread and butter by farming and raising cattle. Shah Latif Shah used to help his father in those days by taking part in farming and looking after the cattle. However, he left the family and moved to a nearing village Chorpur (City of Thieves) which later became Nurpur (city of Light) as a result of the mysticism and great services of Sufi Saint who spent most of his remaining life in this area.   After spending some years in Nurpur, Shah Latif travelled to Ghur Ghushti (Attock) to learn Fiqah, Hadith, logic, mathematics, medicine and other disciplines. The academic institutions of Ghur Ghushti at that time were great seats learning. In the following years, Shah Latif also visited several other places, including Kashmir, Badaksahn, Bukhara, Mashhad and Damascus in a bid to enhance his knowledge and satiate his love for Islam and Sufism. On completing his education, Shah Latif went to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj at quite a young age. When he came back after Haj, Shah Latif got attached with Hayat-Al-Mir or Zinda Pir (the eternal guide) for further guidance on spiritual lines. A particular school of belief considers Hayat-al-Mir as a version of eternal living Prophet of Allah, Hazrat Khizar (Peace be Upon Him). It was Hayat-Al-Mir who conferred the title of Bari Imam on Shah Abdul Latif and instructed him to teach Islam, peace and tranquillity among the people of all religions and beliefs. During his teachings to mankind in the vicinity in the later years, Bari Imam converted thousands of non-Muslims, especially Hindus, to Islam and turned the City of Thieves into City of Light. Besides imparting knowledge to people at Nurpur Shahan, Bari Imam also travelled to several other places from Kashmir to Southern Potohar where he used to hold spiritual sittings with local inhabitants. In recognition of his great knowledge and wisdom, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir himself came to pay respect and regards to Bari Imam after he heard a lot about the great Sufi Saint. Ashraf-ul-Oulia, one of Bari Imam's contemporary scholars, wrote about Shah Latif in his travelogue. "Then I went to Rawalpindi to see Bari Faqeer who used to be indifferent of the world being in self-absorption and ecstasy but immediately coming back to the world and get ready as per code of Islam", Ashraf-ul-Oulia wrote about the account of his meetings with Shah Latif. Hazrat Bari Imam left the world for heavens in 1705 (A D). The great Sufi Saint was buried at Nurpur Shahan where his followers and devotees celebrate his 'Urs' every year with great seal and fervor. The Urs celebrations will start with "Ghusal", washing of the tomb with several dozens kilograms of rosewater, after which the "Chaddar" will be laid at it that will mark the commencement of Urs proceedings.