ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 (APP): The three-day celebrations of the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak began Saturday in Nankana Sahib with the arrival of over 600 Sikh pilgrims from India through the Wagah border.
The main ceremony of the celebration of the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev will be held on November 30 at Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib. The celebrations will end after the Nagar Kirtan procession on Monday, followed by the Bhog ritual at night.
Various departments including Rescue 1122, Health Department, Civil Defense, ETPB and police have already completed necessary arrangements in this regard, including for security, accommodation, food, healthcare and transport of the Sikh pilgrims. Hundreds of policemen and security personnel have been deployed to provide security to the guests.
During their stay, the pilgrims will also visit other gurdwaras in the province.
A day earlier, ETPB Additional Secretary (Shrines) Tariq Wazir, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (PSGPC) President Satwant Singh and General Secretary Ameer Singh, and former PSGPC President Bishan Singh welcomed the Sikh pilgrims at the Wagah border crossing point. Two members of Indian High Commission, RB Sohran and Santosh Kumar, also arrived from Islamabad to greet the pilgrims at Wagah.
The representatives of Punjab Health Department checked all passengers for Covid-19 negative test reports and any signs of the infection. After immigration and customs formalities, the delegates left for Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib by buses.
The pilgrims also brought a Palki for Guru Garanth Sahib from India, which they will place in the Gurdwara.
Every year, more than 2,000 Sikhs come to Pakistan to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. However, the number has reduced this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Sardar Janam Singh, Head Granthi of Gurdwara Janamasthan, has demanded of the United Nations to take notice of Kartarpur Corridor closure by India. He said Pakistan opened the corridor on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak as a gift to the Sikh community while India has closed it. He said the United Nations must ensure implementation of the agreement reached on the corridor.
A special song has also been released to mark the ocassion and to promote religious harmony in Pakistan and across the world by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The song showcases the opening of Kartarpur Corridor with a visa-free access to the Sikh community to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, in Narowal district of Punjab. It also contains reaction of the members of Sikh community who visited Kartarpur.
Bollywood celebrity Ponam Kaur and her family also expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking the unprecedented initiative for facilitating them in their religious journey and on making their long unfulfilled dreams come true.
The move comes in the backdrop of Imran Khan’s vision of achieving prosperity for the entire region through peace and opening of hearts for the communities belonging to other faiths. His vision has already started bearing fruits in the form of enhanced interfaith harmony and religious tourism.
PM Imran Khan inaugurated the visa-free border crossing on November 9, 2019, on the eve of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith.
The initiative by the government has been appreciated by the Sikh community across the globe. Under the religious tourism agreement between Pakistan and India, 3,000 Sikh pilgrims from India can visit Pakistan on Baba Guru Nanak’s birthday.