Sikh Pilgrims Arrive to Celebrate Vaisakhi in Pakistan

Sikh Pilgrims being welcomed in Pakistan. Courtesy: INP

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Vaisakhi is a major celebration for the Sikhs and it is celebrated with a great fervor in Pakistan every year by local and foreign Sikhs.  Each year, various Gurdwaras in Pakistan attract Sikh pilgrims from all over India, USA, Canada and England, including other countries.  This year, over 2,000 pilgrims have already arrived from India.  These pilgrims arrived at the Wagah railway station yesterday to partake in the Vaisakhi celebrations.

The Jatha of Sikhs would be staying for 10 days and paying homage at different Gurdwaras.  The main celebration will be held at Gurdwara Hasan Abdal (Rawalpindi).  Pilgrims will also get a chance to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Gurdwara Janamasthan Nankana Sahib, Dera Sahib and Sacha Sauda.

Various Sikh personalities welcomed the Jatha of Sikhs from East Punjab, including officials of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Evacuee Trust Property Boart (ETPB).

Pakistan Government has made special security arrangement for the Sikh pilgrims.  Rangers have been deployed to ensure their safety.  Various Government officials will also take part in the upcoming celebrations throughout the province.

While a large number of Sikhs are taking part in the Vaisakhi celebrations in Pakistan, it is still unknown why the Pakistan Government had rejected visas sponsored by the SGPC.  Earlier this week, the Pakistan High Commission had refused to stamp visas for all applications that were submitted.  The denial was a major blow hundreds of pilgrims that had already gathered at the transportation camp.

Although the visa fee was refunded by the SGPC, the pilgrims were left upset as they felt they lost their chance of paying homage at Gurdwaras in Pakistan.



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