Over 2,200 visas have been provided by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to Sikh pilgrims from India who wish to attend the Baisakhi festival, which will be celebrated in Pakistan from April 12 to 21. The visas were released on the eve of the Baisakhi festivities.
The issuing of visas is governed by the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, which was signed in Islamabad, Pakistan. Every year, a huge number of Sikh Yatrees from India travel to Pakistan to participate in a variety of religious celebrations and festivals. The visas issued from New Delhi are in addition to the visas granted to Sikh pilgrims who are participating in these events from other countries, and they are valid for a duration of six months from the date of issue.
The High Commission’s decision to provide pilgrimage visas to religious pilgrims is in accordance with the Pakistani government’s commitment to fully implement the Bilateral Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines between the two countries.
Charge d’Affaires Aftab Hasan Khan expressed his sentiments on the auspicious occasion, extending his warmest congratulations to the pilgrims and wishing them a happy and fulfilling yatra. He went on to say that Pakistan takes great pleasure in the preservation of precious religious sites as well as the provision of required assistance to pilgrims who come to the country.
The pilgrims would visit sites such as Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib during their tours, among other places. It is planned that they will travel to Pakistan on April 12 and return to India on April 21.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways has announced that it will operate nine special trains from April 12 to April 17 to accommodate Sikh pilgrims traveling from India to perform religious rites in Pakistan.
On the instructions of Divisional Superintendent Lahore Rahat Mirza, a letter was issued stating that special preparations would be made for the guests at the railway stations, particularly at Nankana Sahib and Hassan Abdal.
During the tour of the Sikh Yatrees, railway officers will be on hand to answer questions and keep an eye on the facilities.