Baisakhi festival: Pakistan grants 2,200 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has granted 2,200 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims ahead of the Baisakhi celebrations being observed in Pakistan from April 12 to 21.

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According to a press release from the High Commission issued on Tuesday, under the framework of Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Indian Sikh pilgrims visit Pakistan to take part in various religious festivities each year.

The The 2,200 visas granted by the High Commission are addition to the visas issued to the Sikhs coming in from other countries for the festivities.

Government of Pakistan’s gesture to grant visas is reflective of the reverence attached to Baisakhi – in terms of both religious and cultural aspects, said Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood.

Mahmood added, “we extend our profound greetings and felicitations to all our brothers and sisters celebrating this auspicious occasion and wish the visiting pilgrims a spiritually fulfilling journey.”

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said on twitter the issuance of visas is, “in line with our efforts to promote inter-faith harmony and people-to-people contacts.”

Sikh pilgrims during the trip will visit shrines of Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib.

Facilitation of visitation to the religious shrines and escalation of people-to-people exchanges between nations was government’s intention behind the issuance of the visas.

On Monday, Pakistan accepted India’s invitation to held technical talks on April 16 regarding the establishment of Kartarpur corridor which will provide visa free admission to the Indian Sikh pilgrims  in Pakistan to visit Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib in advance to Baba Guru Nanak’s upcoming 550th birth anniversary in November 2019.

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