4,000 Sikhs reach Pakistan for Nanak’s birth anniversaryBy Awais Saleem, IANS
Friday, November 19, 2010
ISLAMABAD - Over 4,000 Sikh pilgrims reached Pakistan by special trains through the Wagah border Friday to attend the 541st birth anniversary celebrations Nov 21 of Guru Nanak, the first guru of Sikhism, at hi birthplace
Tight security arrangements were made at the Wagah border near Lahore as the visiting pilgrims went through the customs and immigration.
The visitors were visibly happy to reach their destination for the highest religious pilgrimage for Sikhs.
They were greeted on their arrival at the Wagah railway station by the president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Sardar Sham Singh, and officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board.
The visitors told IANS that both countries needed to make visa policies more flexible to allow more people to cross over for such religious activities.
“We are satisfied with the arrangements made for us and feel no security threat as such,” one of the pilgrims said.
Asif Hashmi, chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, said proper security arrangements have been made for the guests to avoid any untoward situation.
“Officials have been deputed at each pilgrimage site to help the Sikh pilgrims wherever they travel during their 10-day stay in the country,” he said.
The Sikh pilgrims will take part in the birthday celebrations Nov 21 in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev and the most revered pilgrimage site for Sikhs. They will later visit Hassan Abdal, Sacha Sauda and Aimen Abad and other religious sites. The pilgrims will return to India Nov 29.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)