1,600 Indian Sikhs arrive in Pakistan for Guru Nanak Jayanti
Lahore: Over 1,600 Sikhs from India arrived in Pakistan today amid high security to take part in the festivities in connection with the 546th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion.
Punjab Rangers and police have taken stringent security measures for the Sikh pilgrims in the wake of the suicide attack at Wagah that killed at least 61 people on Sunday.
Over 3,000 Sikhs were expected to arrive here to observe the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at Nankana Sahib, some 80 kilometers from Lahore.
"We had assured the visiting Sikhs of foolproof security after the Wagah border blast but it seems some of them gave a second thought to their planned visit," Evacuee Trust Property Board Deputy Director (shrines) Fraz Abbas told PTI.
"As many as 1,642 Sikhs arrived at Wagah by special trains and from there they left for Nankana Shahib to attend the main function to be held on Thursday," he said.
The ETPB and Pakistan Gurdwara Parbhandik Committee officials greeted the pilgrims at Wagah.
"The government will provide foolproof security to the pilgrims during their stay in Pakistan," ETBP chairman Farooqul Saddique said.
He said the Rangers and Elite Force commandos have been deployed at Gurdwara Janamasthan Nankana Sahib to provide security to the pilgrims.
Sardar Harjaab Singh, a leader of visiting Sikh group, said that despite the blast at Wagah border he and his other group members decided not to cancel their plan for the "holy journey".
"Some of my relatives cautioned me against going to Pakistan after the devastating suicide attack at Wagah border but I was eager to visit the birth place of Guru Nanak," he told reporters.
For the first time, the ETPB which looks after the holy places of minorities in the country, gifted 'Amrat Jal' to Indian Sikhs.
It had cleaned the sacred well at Gurdwara Janamesthan Nankana Sahib on the complaints of the Indian Sikhs and 'Amrat Jal' will be served to the pilgrims from there.
The major event will be held on November 6 at Nankana Sahib where pilgrims will organise a rally with Guru Granth Sahib in a special coach from Janam Asthan to Gurdwara Tanbu Sahib.
The pilgrims will reach Panja Sabihb Hassan Abdal by four special trains on November 7.
On November 11, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar will host a brunch for the pilgrims at the Governor House.
The pilgrims will visit Gurdwara Rohri Sahib in Aiman Abad and Gurdwara Kartar Pur Sahib in Narowal on November 12 and they will leave for India on November 13.