Pakistan all set to welcome Sikh pilgrims


LAHORE: The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has completed all arrangements for the upcoming visit of Sikh pilgrims to Lahore from New Delhi and Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi has also been directed to issue 10-day visas to the pilgrims, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Two groups of Sikh pilgrims will visit Pakistan for 10 days each between June 14 and July 6 and for this purpose ETPB has completed all necessary administrative tasks, accommodation preparations and other arrangements. Officials said that ETPB is coordinating with police, special branch, rangers and health department to facilitate the pilgrims. Furthermore, ETPB has also taken Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib and Gujranwala administrative units on board.

The first group would be visiting the country from June 14 to June 23 to attend the Jora Mela and martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev while the second group would be coming from June 27 to July 6 to attend the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

ETPB officials said that Wagah Border and surrounding areas would be declared no-go territories during the time of arrival and departure of the pilgrims and strict security measures would be taken for their protection throughout their stay. The pilgrims would only be able to visit cities permitted to them in their visas and they would not be able to enter the cantonment and surrounding areas, officials added.

ETPB Spokesperson Amir Hashmi told Pakistan Today that the department is prepared to facilitate the pilgrims in all possible manners and the only reason their movement is being restricted is to allow them more security. “We are managing their visit and our staff is working day and night to ensure the best possible arrangements,” he added.