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Saturday, April 25, 2009

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A perilous (and free) ride home for Muslim pilgrims in Pakistan

The word overcrowding doesn't quite do it.

Hanging from doors, sitting on the roof and clinging to buffers, rails and handles, hundreds of pilgrims somehow managed to find a space aboard this train in Pakistan.

Commuters in Britain might grumble about packed carriages and late arrivals, but for these passengers just finding a perch on the groaning train was enough.

And yet, judging by their smiles and waves, the battle for space was a pretty good-natured affair.
Hold on tight! Muslims pilgrims cling on to a train leaving the ancient city of Multan in Pakistan

The crowds were returning home at the end of the three-day Sunni Muslim festival in the ancient city of Multan.

The Sixth biggest city in Pakistan with a population of 3.8million, Multan is also known as the City of Saints and is a key religious centre for Muslims in southern Asia.

Organisers of the event claim it is the second largest gathering of Muslims in the world after the Hajj in the Holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The annual festival is organised by Dawat-e-Islami, which claims to be a non-political religious 'international propagational movement'.

It says its principle objective is to preach and guide Muslims to act upon the teachings of the Holy Quran.

 
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