Ahead of corridor opening, 2,200 Sikhs reach Pakistan - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Ahead of corridor opening, 2,200 Sikhs reach Pakistan

Ahead of corridor opening, 2,200 Sikhs reach Pakistan

Lahore, November 5

Over 2,000 Sikh pilgrims from India arrived at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, ahead of the opening of the Kartarpur corridor this week.

Some 2,200 pilgrims arrived here via Wagah border where they were received by senior officials of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), a spokesperson of the trust said.

During their stay, they will also visit other gurdwaras in Punjab province and attend the opening ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9, besides taking part in the main function in connection with 550th Parkash Purb on November 12.

Amir Ahmed, ETPB chairman, said the pilgrims would be facilitated and foolproof security would be provided to them.

Earlier, the first batch of 1,100 Sikhs, who reached here on October 31, installed the gold palki they brought with them at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur.

Pakistan Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said Pakistan had completed the corridor project within the stipulated time. He said Gurdwara Darbar Sahib was a gift from Pakistan to the Sikh community. “Some 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India will visit daily after corridor’s inauguration by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said, adding that the move would also help bring both countries closer.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has decided to make it mandatory for the tour operators to have no objection certificate to take foreign Sikhs (other than Indians) to their holy places, mainly Kartarpur Sahib.

“The Sikhs coming from the US, Canada and the European countries have been issued visit visa for Lahore. There are security problems with their uncoordinated visits to the holy places. That is why the tour operators have been asked to take NoC for the travel of foreign Sikhs here,” an official said.

Meanwhile in Peshawar, the Sikh community celebrated the upcoming opening of the corridor. The function was held on Monday at Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh at Mohalla Jogan Shah, Aasia Gate, in Peshawar where provincial information minister Shaukat Yousafzai was the chief guest.

Earlier while flagging off the jatha, SGPC chief secretary Dr Roop Singh said the devotees would visit several Sikh shrines, including Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib.

He said the SGPC was committed to provide Rs 21,000 per month assistance to the descendants of Bhai Mardana who have been living in penury in Pakistan. “Their four-month dues were pending and the money has been sent via jatha,” he said. — PTI/TNS

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