Govt urged to take up Sikh pilgrims’ issue with New Delhi

Published February 25, 2021
The Gurdwara Kartarpur Governing Council on Wednesday called on the federal government to ask India to ease travel of Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan. — AFP/File
The Gurdwara Kartarpur Governing Council on Wednesday called on the federal government to ask India to ease travel of Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Gurdwara Kartarpur Governing Council on Wednesday called on the federal government to ask India to ease travel of Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan.

The fourth meeting of the council was held here under the chairmanship of Religious Affairs Secretary Sardar Ijaz Khan Jaffar. Officials of the ministries of foreign affairs, finance, interior, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Nadra and relevant security agencies were also present.

It was decided that the issue of preventing Indian Sikh pilgrims from coming to Pakistan would be raised at a high level.

During the briefing, the meeting was informed by the relevant authorities that India had sent two groups of Hindu pilgrims to Pakistan while the Sikhs were being prevented from visiting under various pretexts.

The council was further told by the foreign ministry officials that the Indian home ministry – which was equivalent to Pakistan’s interior ministry – had denied permission to a Sikh Jatha of around 600 pilgrims to visit Pakistan for the 100th anniversary of the Saka Nankana Sahib.

The group was also expected to visit five gurdwaras from Feb 18 to 21.

Expressing concern over the attitude of the Indian authorities, the religious affairs secretary said: “The state should not have double standard for different religions.”

“This biased attitude of the Indian authorities and prejudice towards religious minorities was unfair,” he added.

Sardar Jaffar said the issue of Sikh pilgrims’ visit to Pakistan would be raised at a high level.

The Kartarpur Corridor project was an example of philanthropy and interfaith harmony, but the meeting deplored the unannounced restrictions on pilgrims by the Indian authorities.

Secretary Jaffar also reviewed the arrangements of the Kartarpur Corridor project.

Pace of ongoing development works related to facilities required by the pilgrims, such as connecting roads towards Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, were reviewed.

The meeting decided to provide opportunities to domestic and foreign investors to invest in the project in the near future to harness the potentials of religious tourism.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021

Opinion

The ECI headache
08 May 2021

The ECI headache

The ECI sat mute while BJP held huge rallies without following SOPs.
Engaging the enemy
08 May 2021

Engaging the enemy

The ghost of the Musharraf formula has started to haunt the current backchannel process.
Will OIC confront France?
Updated 08 May 2021

Will OIC confront France?

For Pakistan to keep its GSP-Plus status it will have to show the EU that it treats its blasphemy accused fairly.
Standing by Kashmir
Updated 07 May 2021

Standing by Kashmir

A comprehensive failure of governance is always a comprehensive moral failure of the governors.

Editorial

Updated 08 May 2021

Delayed poll debate

THE debate on electoral reforms is going nowhere. Even though the major political parties say reforms are critical,...
08 May 2021

Reducing deficit

THE numbers show that the government has managed to arrest growth in fiscal deficit — the difference between the...
08 May 2021

Rise in dog bites

ON Wednesday, an unusually high number of dog-bite cases were reported in Larkana, when 19 people — the majority ...
Reprimanding envoys
Updated 07 May 2021

Reprimanding envoys

The prime minister should have engaged with honest and respectable officers to identify how solutions can be found.
07 May 2021

Foreign funding case

THE foreign funding case against the PTI has become a never-ending tale. It has been dragging on for years and after...
07 May 2021

Water woes

IRRIGATION experts have voiced concern over the decline of freshwater flow through Kotri barrage, which has led to...