Sikh pilgrims from across the world visiting Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi Festival 2019 and Khalsa Anniversary have called on the regional stakeholders to give peace a chance and join hands for a free trade regime.
Talking to APP, Jarnail Singh from Canada said Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Iran should introduce free trade among their nations which would help overcome poverty, violence, and extremism.
"The confrontation, violence, and hatred should come to an end and we should let peace prevail for our future generations," he added.
Baisakhi is an ancient harvest festival which marks the beginning of a new solar year and harvest season. It is one of the most significant holidays in the Sikh calendar, commemorating the establishment of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1699, by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
As part of the observance of religious rituals, pilgrims bathed and worshipped at a pond at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in the town of Hasanabdal, outside Islamabad.
Singh said the arrangements made by the Pakistani government for accommodation, food, and transport for Sikh pilgrims were up to the mark.
"It was heartening to see a warm welcome by the local people, and to embrace them and take selfies with them," he added.
Ravinder Kaur, the wife of Jarnail Singh, said they were thankful to the Pakistani government for facilitating them. They performed their religious rituals without any fear, she said.
Sukhdev Singh, a pilgrim from Hoshiarpur, said the arrangements made by the authorities for the Sikh devotees to perform their religious obligations were appreciable. Such facilities were not available to them in India, he said.
"We feel at home as the people of Pakistan are hospitable. We feel that all of us are celebrating Baisakhi and Khalsa Janam Din in our own town," he remarked.