Over 2,600 Sikh pilgrims arrived at Wagah Railway Station on Thursday from India to participate in religious and cultural rituals that will mark the 549th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Jee.
Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq welcomed the Sikh pilgrims at Wagah. He was accompanied by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Pardhan Sardar Tara Singh, Sardar Bishon Singh, Additional Secretary Shrines Tariq Khan Wazir and other ETPB officials.
Farooq said that arrangements for the celebrations have been finalised by the board and assured that ETPB will provide foolproof security, transport, accommodation and other facilities to the visiting pilgrims.
Speaking on the occasion, group leader Sardar Gurmeet Singh said Sikh pilgrims have come to Pakistan with the message of love, peace, friendship and harmony.
“Pakistan is the land of Sikh Gurus and Sikhs love this land. We are always welcomed with love and it is a true example of Sikh-Muslim friendship,” he said.
Also read: Gurdawara Panja Sahib — a symbol of peace
Earlier in the day, the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi had said it issued visas to over 2,600 Indian Sikhs who planned to make a pilgrimage to Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal, read a Foreign Office statement.
The visas were issued “in line with the Pakistan government’s efforts to promote religious tourism and people-to-people interactions,” the statement read.
Every year, devotees from all over the world gather at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal to celebrate Baba Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary. The celebrations last for more than a week, during which sacred rituals are performed at the Gurdwara and sweets and langarare offered, irrespective of religious orientation.
Soon after their arrival, the pilgrims left for the Janum Asthan of Baba Guru Nanak at Nankana Sahib.
The birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, commenced from November 2.
The main function of the festival will be held in Nankana Sahib on November 4, where the pilgrims will perform sacred rituals. After that, the devotees will leave for Punja Sahib, Hassanabdal. They will return to Lahore on November 9.
The pilgrims will leave for their homeland on November 11.