On Sunday, more than thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India to arrive at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal District of Pakistan as a part of “Nagar Kirtan” – a religious procession arranged to mark the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.
Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal has said that around 1100 Sikhs has crossed the border via Wagah on October 31 via Ludhiana-Amritsar, reported The Dawn.
The Sikh pilgrims visited Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Janamasthan, Gurdwara Sacha Sodda Farooqabad and other Shrines. Finally, the pilgrims will conclude at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, where a gold palanquin “Palki Sahib” is scheduled to be installed.
Mr. Gondal was quoted saying, “Around 1,300 visas issued for the Nagar Kirtan are over and above the contingent covered under the Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines 1974 between Pakistan and India.”
He continued that the board, in collaboration with the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhand Committee and the District Administration, has made all necessary security arrangements and accommodation for Indians as well as local Sikh pilgrims.
While speaking to sources, a number of pilgrims have summoned the initiative to open Kartarpur corridor to facilitate the 0Sikh Community, and praised Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for initiating the foundation stone for Baba Guru Nanak University in Nankana Sahib and issue a commemorative coins on the occasion of the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak Ji.
Kartarpur Corridor to be opened on November 9, which will connect Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab, which is only 4 km away from the International Border, situated at Pakistan’s Narowal District.
Ex-President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Sardar Paramjit Singh Sarna has also praised the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, claims it was a longstanding desire of the Sikh Community to be facilitate to visit one of their holiest sites visa-free to Pakistan.
Mr. Singh further thanked the government for construction of a new building at Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.
He continued that Sikhs from India are grateful to the government for issuing them a large number of free visas, adding that “Pakistan is sacred to us and we love it, and we come here with a message of peace and brotherhood.”
Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Satwant Singh has said that the teachings of Guru Nanak Ji revolved around peace as well as humanity.
He continued that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was a “great gift” to the Indian Sikh Community, and “Pakistan is a pure land for Sikhs and a second home for the Sikh community around the world.”
Attock District Police Officer Shahzad Nadeem Bukhari has also reviewed security arrangements for the protection of Indian Sikh pilgrims. He informed sources that multi-layered security plans have been made to ensure that visiting pilgrims are safe.