72 couples tie the knot in ceremony organised by Madina Foundation.
Seventy two couples tied the knot in a mass marriage ceremony arranged by a local NGO on Friday.
The event was organised by the Madina Foundation at The University of Faisalabad campus. Hujra-tun Nabvi, Madinatul Munawara chief Khadim Saeed Adam was the chief guest for the event, while former Punjab governor Khalid Maqbool presided over the event.
“It’s been wonderful. We would never have been able to afford such a grand function on our own and all the arrangements were made for us,” said Aasiya Bibi. Dozens of couples were provided with wedding clothes and dowries by Madina Foundation for the event. “Everything was taken care of and we have tried to make sure that these couples have something to start off with,” said a Madina Foundation worker Fakhar Sultan. Sultan said that many of the brides and grooms were orphans and could not afford to get married without assistance.
Over 3,000 guests including parents of the couples, their relatives, friends and other family members attended the ceremony and paid tribute to Mian Muhammad Haneef, the organiser of the event. “I am extremely pleased that I can help so many people and that so many philanthropists have contributed to this cause,” he said.
“We have been preparing this event for nearly four months and by the grace of God it has been successful. Dozens of volunteers have been working round the clock to ensure that the festivities go off without a hitch,” he added.
Haneef said that all the couples were given furniture and other household items, besides dowry worth Rs50,000 each.
A large number of students, staff and teachers of the university including Rector Professor Abdul Kareem Baloch also participated in the ceremony and presented gifts to the newly weds. All the guests were served a meal and soft drinks.
Groom Muhammad Akram said that he was extremely grateful to the organisers who had made such excellent arrangements. “I could not even dream of affording such a wedding. Now my wife and I even have some money to help us start up,” he said.
A bride, Naila, said “I never thought that I would be able to marry because my mother and father died a few years ago and I have an 8-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister. “This money will help me put them through school,” she said.
Muhammad Hafeez, the father of a bride, said that he could never have given his daughter such a dowry. “I am disabled and I couldn’t afford her wedding but now that pressure is off,” he said.
Madina Foundation has been organising mass wedding receptions in different parts of Southern Punjab for the past eight years.
Chief guest Saeed Adam led the collective prayer for the newly wed couples.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2011.