LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday announced that his government would issue multiple and on-arrival visas to the Sikh community and provide them maximum possible facilities during pilgrimage to their holy sites.
“I assure that you will be issued multiple visa… This is our responsibility. We will facilitate you rather will give you visa at airport. (We) will give you multiple visa to facilitate your journey to and from India,” the prime minister said addressing the International Sikh Convention here at the Governor House.
The moot was attended by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, federal and provincial cabinet members, and Sikh pilgrims from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries.
The prime minister said after coming into power, his government realized the difficulties faced by the foreigners to get Pakistani visa intending to visit the country for pilgrimage or tourism. "Though our government has changed the visa regime, the mindset of creating hurdles will gradually diminish," he added.
The prime minister said the government would facilitate the Sikh pilgrims and ease out all the processes for them, besides uplifting their shrines in different cities.
He said the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Naka would be celebrated with full zeal along with the Sikh community.
The prime minister said during his cricketing career, he had visited India many times when it was a different country than today.
After assuming the prime minister’s office, he had tried to establish good ties with India, which unfortunately set preconditions instead of engaging in dialogue, he added.
He said the region was sitting on a ticking bomb of climate change as the glaciers were melting which could have dangerous repercussions for the future generations, and called for joint efforts to counter the challenge.
Imran Khan said the Kashmir issue could be resolved through dialogue as war had never been a solution to disputes.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government, he said, was pursuing the very ideology that the Hindus were superior to other communities, which had led to the creation of Pakistan.
He said no religion preached oppression of minorities rather all the prophets had taught humanity, compassion and justice to establish a difference between a civilized society and the wild life.
Drawing the audience’s attention towards ongoing human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, the prime minister said Kashmiris had been under curfew for last 27 days, which was unacceptable.
He said the ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was a threat to India, which believed in the dominance of Hindus in the country thus targeting all the minorities there. That ideology was a threat for the Indian people, he added.
He said Pakistan was building pressure to do away with that ideology and also urged the Sikhs to raise their voice against it.
He said the world would be in danger if the two nuclear powers had any military confrontation. He, however, reiterated that Pakistan would never trigger a war.