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Monday, April 15, 2024

Respecting minorities: Pakistan approves Baisakhi Festival

News Desk |

Despite Pakistan-India tensions, the government in Islamabad has accorded approval to the schedule of Baisakhi festival 2019. Pakistan will issue visas to 3,000 Indian Yatris for pilgrimage for 10 days.

According to Evacuee Trust Property Board, Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued special directives for the arrangements of Baisakhi Festival.

Baisakhi Festival that falls on April 14th, marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit Gurudwaras, Baisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day. Baisakhi has special significance for Sikhs as on this day in 1699, their tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji organized the order of the Khalsa. Every year, a number of Sikh Yatris come to visit Gurdwaras in Pakistan on Baisakhi Festival.

Not just the Baisakhi Festival, the opening of Kartarpur corridor had already won hearts of Sikh community living on both sides of the border.

Officials of Evacuee Trust Property Board have started preparations for the provision of traveling and medical facilities for Sikh pilgrim along with stay and food. Indian Sikh pilgrims will come to Pakistan on April 12 this year through special trains and high officials at Wagah railway station will welcome them.

Sikh pilgrims will be dropped at Gurdwara Panja Sahib Hassan Abdal where the key religious ceremony of Bhog Akhand Path Sahib will be conducted and Sikh pilgrims will also celebrate Baisakhi on the same day.

On April 15, Sikh Yatris will go to Gurdwara Janam Asthan while they will visit Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Farooqabad on April 17. During the visit, Sikh pilgrims will visit Gurdwara Shri Dehra Sahib Lahore, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Narowal, and Gurdwara Rori Sahib Gujranwala.

Read more: Missing Sikh pilgrim found from friend’s home in Sheikhupura to be…

In comparison, adopting its aggressive policies, India has earlier denied issuing visas to Pakistani shooters scheduled to take part in Olympics Shooting event decided to be held in India. Rejecting the Indian rigid stance, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) canceled places for the 2020 Tokyo Games shooting competition to be awarded at an event in India.

“Equal treatment must be guaranteed for all participating athletes and sporting delegations at international sports events, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country,” the statement of IOC said.

Beyond the shooting competition, the IOC said it was suspending all discussions on potential future hosting of Olympic-related events in India until it received “written guarantees” from the government that the country would comply with IOC rules.

Read more: Despite India’s accusations against Pakistan for “inciting Sikh pilgrims”, pilgrims praise…

India has miserably failed in its attempt to isolate Pakistan internationally; even at home, its policies seem not to be working. Not just the Baisakhi Festival, the opening of Kartarpur corridor had already won hearts of Sikh community living on both sides of the border. Now with this positive move again from Pakistan just reflects the eagerness of Pakistan to set aside differences and work for peace.