Pakistan issues 2,200 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims for Baisakhi festival

Published April 9, 2019
Devotees participate in the Baisakhi festival. — Reuters/File
Devotees participate in the Baisakhi festival. — Reuters/File

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued 2,200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations being held in Pakistan from April 12 to 21.

According to a press release from the high commission circulated on Tuesday, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals every year under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, 1974.

The 2,200 visas issued by the Pakistan High Commission in India are in addition to the visas granted to Sikh pilgrims arriving for the event from other countries.

The statement quoted Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood as saying that the Pakistani government's gesture to issue these visas is reflective of the reverence attached to Baisakhi – both in its religious and cultural dimensions.

Baisakhi is an ancient harvest festival which marks the beginning of a new solar year and harvest season.

“We extend our profound greetings and felicitations to all our brothers and sisters celebrating this auspicious occasion and wish the visiting pilgrims a spiritually fulfilling journey,” Mahmood added.

During their visit to Pakistan, the pilgrims will visit the shrines of Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib.

The issuance of the pilgrimage visas is in line with the government's efforts to facilitate visits to religious shrines and strengthen people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, the statement said.

The development comes a day after the Foreign Office in Islamabad announced that it had agreed to a technical meeting on April 16 between experts from both Pakistan and India for the construction of the Kartarpur Corridor.

The Kartarpur Corridor is expected to provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November this year.

Opinion

Editorial

03 Dec 2021

Crime against humanity

IT is a form of collective punishment that, one would imagine, only the most brutal autocracies inflict on their...
03 Dec 2021

Revised valuations

THE revised property valuations notified by the FBR for 40 cities for the purpose of collecting federal taxes —...
03 Dec 2021

PWD await rights

ON the International Day of Disabled Persons, it is important to take stock of how far Pakistan has come in ensuring...
02 Dec 2021

Funding for polls

THE PTI government’s autocratic mentality is again on full display, even as it feigns adherence to the law....
02 Dec 2021

Soaring prices

PRICES are surging. And they are increasing at a much faster pace than anticipated, burdening millions of...
Ali Wazir’s bail
Updated 02 Dec 2021

Ali Wazir’s bail

IT has been a long time coming, but MNA and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader Ali Wazir has finally been granted bail...