APP32-14 HASSANABDAL: April 14 – Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousaf addressing to the Sikh community members as a large number of Sikh yatrees arrives at Gurdwara Panja Sahib for religious rituals as Gurdwara Panja Sahib a famous gurdwara. The shrine considered to be particularly important as the handprint of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, believed to be imprinted on a boulder at the gurdwara. Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji along with Bhai Mardana Ji reached Hasan Abdal in Baisakh Samwat 1578 B.K. corresponding to 1521 ACE in the summer season. Under a shady cool tree, Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana started reciting Kirtan and their devotees gathered around. This annoyed a local saint, Hazrat Shah Wali Qandhari, who meditated atop a nearby hill but he was helpless. APP photo by Afzaal Chaudhry

LAHORE, April 14 (APP): Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf on Friday said the government is a guardian of rights of the minorities in the country.
Addressing the central ceremony of Besakhi Festival at Gurdwara Punja Sahib Hasan Abdal on Friday, he said people living in the country had complete liberty of religion and all religions were enjoying freedom as well.
The minister said: “All non-muslims living in the country are Pakistani and we are also participate equally in their happiness and sorrows”. He added that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had great respect,love and honour for minorities and the government was taking special steps for welfare of minorities.
He said:”We want friendly relations with the neighbouring country India”,adding that “We respect Hindu and Sikh pilgrims who come from India besides providing them foolproof security in Pakistan”.
Speaking on the occasion, Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Muhammad Siddiqul Farooq congratulated the entire Sikh community on Besakhi on behalf of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
He said the Guru Nanak University in Nankana Sahib had been constructed for which the Higher Education Commission had allocated Rs one billion while construction work of 100 rooms would soon start at Gurdwara Punja Sahib, he added.
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Pardhan Sardar Tara Singh, Sardar Remaish Singh Arwara MPA, Muhammad Shawaiz Khan MPA and other were also present.