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LAHORE: Over 3000 Sikh pilgrims arrived at Wagah on Wednesday from India to participate in religious and cultural rituals on the occasion of 552nd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Jee.

Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Dr Amir Ahmad welcomed the Sikh pilgrims at Wagah. He was accompanied by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Pardhan Sardar Satonit Singh, Sardar Undergeet Singh, Additional Secretary Shrine’s Rana Shahid and other ETPB officials.

The Chairman said that arrangements for the celebrations have been finalised by the board and assured that the 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.

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.

The visas were issued in line with the Pakistan government’s efforts to promote religious tourism and people-to-people interactions.

It is pertinent to mention here that 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 langar are offered, irrespective of religious orientation.

Sikh devotees are showered with rose petals upon their arrival at Wagah Border. 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 18.

The main function of the festival will be held in Nankana Sahib on November 19 where the pilgrims will perform sacred rituals. After that, the devotees will leave for Punja Sahib, Hassanabdal. They will return to Lahore and will leave for their homeland.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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