Sikh pilgrims reach Pakistan to attend festivals on Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom

Picture source - AFP

A delegation of Sikh pilgrims reached Pakistan on Wednesday through Wagah Border to participate in festivals on the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev.

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi already issued 163 visas to Sikhs to participate in the annual event scheduled to be held from June 8 to June 17.

The pilgrims were received at the border crossing by the officials of the Evacuee Trust Properties Board (ETPB) and the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

More Sikhs are expected to reach till tomorrow and the authorities have made full security arrangements for the guests, said the spokesperson for the ETPB.

Hundreds of pilgrims from both countries visit holy places and take part in religious festivals despite the tensions between the two neighbours. Islamabad and New Delhi issue visas to the pilgrims under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974. Both countries had also opened visa-free corridor at Kartarpur near Narowal for facilitation of Sikh pilgrims in 2019.

Guru Arjan (15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606) was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith and the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus.

According to Sikh religion, Guru Arjan was arrested under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and asked to convert to Islam. On refusal, he was tortured and executed in 1606 CE. His martyrdom was celebrated as Shaheedi Divas in May or June, according to the Nanakshahi calendar.