इंडियन आवाज़     24 Feb 2024 12:41:14      انڈین آواز

Sikh ‘jathas’ cross over to Pakistan to celebrate Guru Nanak birth anniversary


AMN/ Amritsar

Many ‘jathas’ of Sikh pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah Joint Check Post on Saturday to celebrate the 554th Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak at Sri Nankana Sahib on November 27.

The pilgrims were received by the officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board of Pakistan and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at the Wagah border.

Pakistan High Commission Charge d’Affaires Aizaz Khan extended felicitations to the pilgrims and wished them a safe journey.

Earlier, amid chants of ‘Bole so nihal’, SGPC executive member Khushwinder Singh Bhatia led a ‘jatha’ that left for Pakistan.

SGPC secretary Partap Singh expressed unhappiness over the alleged denial of visas to a significant number of Sikh devotees. He appealed both Indian and Pakistani governments to revise the figure of devotees.

The SGPC had recommended applications of 1,684 aspirants of which 788 were denied visas by the Pakistan High Commission.

He said the SGPC recommends applications as per the allocated quota for Punjab but this time, 45 per cent applications were rejected.

“We have repeatedly been appealing to the Pakistan authorities to grant visas liberally. It is unfortunate that the Pakistan government rejected the applications without any valid reasons,” he said.

On the other hand, the Pakistan High Commission has clarified that the issuance of visas is covered under the framework of the Pakistan-India protocol on Visits of Religious Shrines of 1974, which speaks about giving visas to a maximum of 3,000 pilgrims from India on this occasion.

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