LAHORE: President Dr Arif Alvi and Governor Sarwar welcomed Sikh pilgrims at Governor House and emphasised that Pakistan has given a message of peace by inaugurating the Kartarpur Corridor and making historic arrangements to let Sikhs celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Ji.

Mr Sarwar had invited some 2,000 Sikh pilgrims, who had come from different parts of the world including India, at Governor House for a luncheon. The Sikhs expressed joy over the arrangements regarding the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak and opening of Kartarpur Corridor project. They performed ‘Bhangras’.

Dr Alvi said Sikhs would be welcomed in Pakistan and added doors would remain wide open for them at every occasion. He lauded Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee led by Chaudhry Sarwar for making arrangement for the corridor opening ceremony and for arrangements made for the birth anniversary celebrations.

“Pakistan is advocating love and peace as wars are not the solution to issues, which could be resolved through dialogues,” he said.

Governor Sarwar said, “Pakistan is a safe country for minorities and it is working for restoration of religious places of not only the Sikh community but also other minorities including Christians and Hindus”.

Luncheon held for Sikhs at Governor House

Stating that Pakistan always stands by minorities, the governor added, the Indian government had made minorities’ life [in India] difficult. “The Indian Supreme Court decision on Babri Masjid case is a result of RSS and Indian leaders’ pressure on its judiciary,” the governor said.

Mr Sarwar also regretted that India was committing genocide of innocent Kashmiris as 99 days had passed since imposition of curfew in occupied valley. “We will promote liberalism in Pakistan and eradicate extremism the way we eliminated terrorism from the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the governor’s claim about removal of Nawaz Sharif’s name from ECL fell flat on Monday, as the former premier was still reflecting in the list till the filing of this report.

“I have talked to all state institutions concerned and I am certain that Nawaz Sharif’s name will be removed from the ECL today,” the governor told media persons after inaugurating a picture exhibition of Punjab University at Alhamra Hall earlier in the day.

The governor said everyone was highly concerned about the health of Nawaz Sharif and prayed that he would recover fast.

“The government wants that Nawaz Sharif may be sent abroad at the earliest for his medical treatment. We do not want to take any risk on Mr Sharif’s health,” Mr Sarwar said.

Referring to some legal hitches, the governor said he had himself checked with all state institutions concerned and added that he was sure that Mr Sharif’s name would be removed from the ECL.

To another question, the governor said no political party had taken any benefit from Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s sit-in. Stressing that institutions should not be criticised, he asserted, “institutions weaken in those regions where chaos exists”.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019