Pakistani man aims to bring shade to Arba'een pilgrims in Iraq
A retired Pakistani industrialist sent thousands of saplings to Iraq on Friday (November 29) to bring shade to pilgrims, an idea formed when his relatives returned from a holy site with sunburn.
Mohammedi Durbar, 85, wants to plant nearly 50,000 trees along the entire 80-km pilgrimage route between Iraq's Muslim holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.
"I immediately realized there was no shade," Durbar told Reuters at his farm on the outskirts of the city of Karachi.
Durbar traveled to Iraq, spoke to officials, and got permission for his project, and a promise the trees would be cared for. He also planted some trees in Najaf to see if they could thrive there.
A first batch of 9,800 saplings of eight types of trees, up to eight months old, set off from Karachi by truck on Friday for their journey across Iran to Iraq.
Millions of people make the pilgrimage every year for the religious ritual of Arba'een, which marks 40 days after Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shias’ Imam, Imam Hussein (PBUH). They walk most of the way under a baking sun.