ISLAMABAD: As many as 163 Sikh pilgrims from India, who were issued visas by Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi, will reach Pakistan on Wednesday (today) to attend an annual festival held to mark martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev Jee, the fifth Guru Granth of the Sikh community.

During the visit, the pilgrims would go to Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib. They would return to India on June 17 — the closing day of the festival.

The issuance of visas is covered under the framework of Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974. Every year, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals. The visas issued from New Delhi are in addition to the visas granted to Sikh pilgrims participating in these events from other countries.

The issuance of visas to the pilgrims is in line with the government’s commitment to fully implement the 1974 bilateral protocol.

According to a communication received here, Charge d’Affaires Aftab Hasan Khan extended his heartfelt felicitations to the pilgrims and wished them a rewarding and fulfilling yatra. “Pakistan takes immense pride in preserving sacred religious places and providing necessary facilitation to the visiting pilgrims,” he added.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2022

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