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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

2,400 Indian Sikh pilgrims travel to Pakistan to participate in Baisakhi festival

The Indian pilgrims were provided security cover by the police and the Rangers

PTI Lahore Published 13.04.24, 08:24 PM
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As many as 2,400 Indian Sikh pilgrims arrived here in Pakistan's Punjab provincial capital on Saturday via the Wagah Border to participate in the annual Baisakhi festival, an official said.

Sardar Ramash Singh Orara, the first Sikh Minister in Pakistan's Punjab province who is also Pakistan's Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President, along with the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) additional secretary shrines Rana Shahid and other senior officers greeted the Indian pilgrims at the Wagah border.

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"As many as 2,400 Indian Sikh pilgrims arrived here today to attend Baisakhi festivities in Gurdwara Punja Sahib, Hassanabdal," ETPB spokesperson Amir Hashmi told PTI.

The ETPB looks after the holy places of the minority communities in Pakistan.

He said that the Indian Sikhs were transported to Hassanabdal by train for the first time after the upgradation of Hassanabdal Railway Station.

The Indian pilgrims were provided security cover by the police and the Rangers.

Hashmi said that the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had issued 2,975 visas to Sikh pilgrims to participate in the annual festival taking place on April 14 at Hassanabdal. However, 2,400 of them arrived here.

According to the spokesperson, the ETPB has completed all arrangements for the Baisakhi Mela and for first-time pilgrims coming from India will use rail transport instead of buses.

Hashmi said that the main event of the festival will be held on Sunday in which over 11,000 local and foreign Sikh pilgrims will converge at Panja Sahib.

The other foreign Sikh pilgrims have come from Canada, the US, the UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

"The Indian Sikhs will be housed in hostels managed by the ETPB while those from other countries will stay in various colleges and schools," Hashmi said.

Baisakhi marks the first day of the month of Vaisakh in the local calendar. It is not only the spring festival in the region but also marks the founding anniversary of ‘Khalsa’.

Baisakhi is also the formal founding day of Sikhism as established by Guru Gobind Singh — the 10th Guru of the Sikhs.

During their stay, the pilgrims will also visit Gurdwara Janamasthen Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Sheikhupura, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Gujaranwala and Gurdwara Dera Sahib Lahore, before leaving for their homeland on April 22.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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