Islamabad: 1,100 Indian Sikh pilgrims arrived in Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal on Sunday midnight as part of the Nagar Kirtan, a religious procession held to mark the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Baba Guru Nanak Dev.
“More than 1,100 Sikhs crossed the border through Wagah on Oct 31 via Ludhiana and Amritsar. They visited Gurdwara Janamasthan, Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sodda Farooqabad and other shrines,” The Dawn quoted Imran Gondal, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Deputy Secretary Shrines as saying.
Adding that the pilgrimage will conclude at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, where a gold palanquin ‘Palki Sahib’ will be installed, he said: “Around 1,300 visas issued for the Nagar Kirtan are over and above the contingent covered under the Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines 1974 between Pakistan and India.”
“Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan for religious festivals at least four times a year under the framework of the 1974 India-Pakistan protocol on visits to religious shrines,” he added.
He also stated that ETPB, in collaboration with the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhand Committee and the district administration, has made security and accommodation arrangements for Indian and local Sikh pilgrims.
Last month, India and Pakistan signed an agreement on the modalities for operationalising Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, paving the way for its inauguration ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The corridor connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur, Pakistan.