Ajmer, April 8 (IANS) Surrounded by the Aravali mountains, this pilgrim city of 800,000 people is agog this Sunday as its people eagerly looking forwrd to the visit of Paksitani President Asif Ali Zardari in the afternoon to pray at the dargah of revered Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.
With security personnel deployed on the main roads and siren-blaring police vehicles criss-crossing the city, the Sunday tranquility of this otherwise quiet city has been rudely jolted.
The Rajasthan government has deputed six superintendents of police to oversee the deployment of over 3,000 policemen.
But the people are not complaining as they feel this visit could go down in history. The
people hope the visit will improve India-Pakistan ties that are slowly on the upswing after the bitter chill in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
"I hope with his visit the tension eases off between the two countries. We are excited and hopeful that Zardari sahib will bring a message of peace," said a khadim at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, where the Pakistani president will pray.
"There is a frenzied activity in the shrine for Zardari's visit. The preparations for his welcome are on," Wahid Chisti, a khadim, told IANS.
Visitors were flocking to the shrine, knowing that the entry will be restricted from around 2 p.m.
"When such diginatries come, the local people and visiting devotes are the ones who suffer. Vehicular movement will stop when Zardari is in the the city. Thousands of pilgrims who want to visit the shrine today will not be able to do so," said Kharoom, a local.
Others thought differently.
Rakesh Sharma, who has come from Uttar Pradesh said: "What matters is his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."
"This city has attracted many prominent figures ranging from Akbar to General Zia-ul Haq, from (former president Pervez)Musharraf to (former Prime Minister Benazir) Bhutto," said 23-year -old Nisha, a local.
However, businessmen in the city are upset as they will have been asked to shut their shops from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on a Sunday that is otherwise good for business.
"He will come here for half-an-hour and we will have to shut our shops for longer. When Benazir Bhutoo had visited in 2005, this didn't happen," said Akaram who runs a sweet shop.
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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