Of tears and gratitude: Sikh pilgrims from India return home


–Pilgrims say ‘best gift’ from Pakistan was laying of Kartarpur Corridor’s foundation stone

–Vow to spread country’s message of peace and harmony in India

–Thank Pakistan for all the hospitality, ensuring maintenance of their holy sites

LAHORE: Sikh pilgrims from India, who were in the country to celebrate the 549th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, returned home via special trains on Friday; saying that the “best gift” from Pakistan was Prime Minister Imran Khan laying the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor.

As per the details, almost 12,000 pilgrims from all over the world had gathered in Pakistan for the birth anniversary of Sikhism’s first guru, out of which 3,370 belonged to India.

Emotional scenes were witnessed as the pilgrims left the country via the Wagah Railway Station, saying that Pakistan had high importance for them owing to the fact that it was the land where their gurus were.

Party leader of the pilgrims, Sardar Amarjeet Singh, while speaking to media persons before leaving, said they were taking along good memories of their stay in Pakistan. “We appreciate the hospitality rendered by Pakistanis during our visit to different places. The Kartarpur Corridor is the best gift we are taking back and this gift by the authorities in Pakistan has been well received by Sikhs all across the globe.”

Opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, he said, would bring along a message of peace. “We are also thankful for the support and generosity of Minister for Religious Affairs Peer Noorul Haq Qadri, as he took great interest in all matters.”

“All pilgrims were impressed by the cleanliness, management and maintenance of our holy sites by the government, especially the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), and we are extremely grateful,” Amarjeet said, adding that they would spread Pakistan’s message of peace in India.

Deputy Leader Sooran Kaur said transportation and medical facilities besides the provision of food were up to the mark and they were grateful for the efforts of ETPB as it had honoured the pilgrims by respecting their beliefs.

“We consider Pakistan our second home,” he added.

“We have a lot of respect and love for the Sikhs and their holy sites, and we try our best to maintain them,” ETPB spokesperson Amir Hashmi said while speaking to Pakistan Today.

ETPB Secretary Tariq Wazir, on the other hand, expressed gratitude to media outlets as well as the security agencies.

“Such a successful event could not have been managed without the support of federal and provincial government departments and I am thankful to the administrative staff for their support and untiring efforts.”

“I am sure that such celebrations will convey to the entire world that Pakistan is a peace loving country and everyone is safe here. We will take all measures for the promotion of a positive image of Pakistan and I think the Sikh pilgrims have taken with them good memories of both the country and its people,” Wazir told this scribe.