The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued 2,200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations, the commission said on Thursday.
The issuance of visas is covered under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974. The statement from Pakistan’s High Commission said that the issuance of pilgrimage visas was in line with the Pakistani government’s commitment to fully implement the bilateral protocol between the two countries.
Expressing his views on the occasion, Charge d’Affaires Aftab Hasan Khan extended his heartfelt felicitations to pilgrims and wished them a rewarding and fulfilling pilgrimage. “Pakistan takes immense pride in preserving sacred religious places and providing necessary facilitation to the visiting pilgrims,” he added.
During the visit, the pilgrims would reach Pakistan on April 12. They will visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib before returning back to India on April 21. With the Baisakhi Festival – the most popular spring harvest festival for Sikhs – a week away, the city administration has finalized security arrangements at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal.
“All possible facilities would be provided to pilgrims and all institutions should perform their duties honestly and diligently. Pilgrims from all over the world are our guests and their hospitality is our duty,” said Attock District Police Officer (DPO) Rana Shoaib Mahmood while speaking at a meeting held to finalise security arrangements for the festival.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Railways has planned to run nine special trains from April 12 to 17 to facilitate Sikh pilgrims coming from India for their religious rituals.
According to a letter issued under the directions of Lahore Divisional Superintendent Rahat Mirza on Thursday, special arrangements would be made for guests at railway stations, especially at Nankana Sahib and Hassan Abdal.