Lahore’s historical Nisar Haveli located inside Mochi Gate of Walled City is symbol of Sunni Shia unity as people of the area be they Shias or Sunnis equally show respect on the occasion of Ashura and facilitate in every way to ensure social and religious harmony.

Since its inception Muslims belonging to Sunni and Shia sects participate in the annual main procession, as Haveli became the symbol of inter-sect harmony keeping its gates open for everyone to pay tribute to the martyrs of Karbala. The Nisar Haveli has cultural, traditional and religious uniqueness.

The Haveli attracted Muslims as well as non-Muslim community before partition. The Haveli got old architecture of Mughal’s era, which is still in its original form. The main wooden balcony of the Haveli attracts the attention of the viewers on first sight. The Haveli building was constructed in 18th century. The interior of the building also contained the Persian poetry praising the Family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Haveli has vast courtyard and has a separate area where Zuljinah for prime procession was festooned with flowers, black dress and in accordance with the traditional rituals.

Ch Masood Ahmed, 59 is one of the oldest living people in Mohalla Shia’an Kashmirian inside Mochi Gate . “I stand in front of Nisar Haveli in first ten days of Muharram and keep an eye on outsiders to avoid any untoward incident.

“I am Sunni Muslim but I do this vigilance to keep the legacy and culture of this area,” Masood said.

Malik Tassawur, 52, who lives inside Mochi Gate said when month of Muharram starts the rush at sweets shops increases as people distribute the Niaz (sweets) in memory of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (RA). “I think walled city people with unity of Shia and Sunni keeping the real philosophy and message of martyrdom of grandson of Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Malik Tassawur remembers Akhtar Raseed alias Ustad Sheedu who remained a symbol of Shia-Sunni unity in the area. Akhter Rasheed died one month ago. Malik said Akhter like many others had seen partition and kept the community at peace with his speeches and lectures to young generation.

After partition Nisar Haveli became property of Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash, former Chief Minister of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and minister for finance in 1970s.

Muahmmad Shakoor, resident of Mochi Gate , said he along with family has a long-term tradition to attend the annual procession.

Muhammad Ali, 22, is student of Bachelor of Business Administration and lives inside Walled City. “I have friends who belong to different sects. We all participate in the Zuljinnah procession,” he said.

Salman Walid, 22-year-old, resident of Mohalla Shia’an Kashmirian, runs a sweets shop named ‘Sufi Sweets’ at Nawab Chowk in Akbari Mandi area said he continue the legacy of his forefathers who used to offer free meals on occasion of Ashura while the shop remains closed on 10th of Muharram due to security reasons.

Asghar Iqbal, 42-year-old, who runs a CD Shop adjacent to the walls of Nisar Haveli said Sunnis of this area participate in the procession of 10th Muharram while the Shia sect people participate in 12th Rabi-al-Awwal Milad sessions.

Nawab Haider Ali Abidi who hails from Karachi will lead address the procession at Majlis-e-Aza at Nisar Haveli .

The first ever Ashura procession started in 1850s from the Nisar Haveli , which was part of adjacent Mubarik Haveli, before the partition but later got divided into two buildings. Nawab Haji Sir Fateh Ali Khan Qizilbash named the Haveli after his father’s name Sardar Nisar Ali Khan Qizilbash.

According to the locals of the Mochi Gate , before partition a large number of Hindu and Sikhs paid visit to the Ashura procession at Haveli to show their love, devotion and solidarity with the martyrs of Karbala.

Ashura Zuljinah procession starts from the Nisar Haveli on 9th Muharrram and passing from Imambargah Ghulam Ali Shah, Masjid Ali Khan, Imambargah Narowali, Chowk Nawab, Ahmed Ali Wayee area, Mochi Gate , Khajoor Gali, Mohalla Shian, Takia Nathay Shah, Gumti Bazaar, Syed Mitha Bazaar, Bazaar Hakeema, Mohalla Jogian and the crosses from Bhatti Gate and finally ends at Karbal Gamayshah on 10th of Muharram.