Saturday, July 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SGPC sends ‘Sikh agenda’ to PM
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 13
Even as 170 Sikh shrines in Pakistan, which are in a dilapidated condition, are still closed and 20 others are in possession of people, the SGPC president, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi has sent a detailed ‘Sikh agenda’ to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister through special messengers for taking up with Gen Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan President, during the Agra summit, scheduled for July 15.

Since Mr Talwandi is down with fever the ‘Sikh agenda’ was sent to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr L.K. Advani through Mr Daljit Singh Bedi, publicity in-charge, and Mr Gurbachan Singh, information officer, SGPC. Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, SGPC secretary, has said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, had already discussed the ‘Sikh agenda’ with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Home Minister before leaving for the USA.

In the memorandum, Mr Talwandi urged Mr Vajpayee to convince the visiting President of Pakistan to allow a jatha of five persons to visit Pakistan to pay their obeisance at gurdwaras in Pakistan on any date convenient to them. Mr Talwandi said there were more than 200 historic gurdwaras in west Pakistan and to pay obeisance at these shrines has been the long cherished desire of every Sikh. However, the Government of Pakistan allows pilgrimage to the shrines situated in Panja Sahib, Lahore, Sacha Sauda and Nankana Sahib only. The Sikh shrines such as Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh, Gurdwara Bhai Lalo and others are not being opened to the pilgrims despite repeated requests.

The SGPC chief said the buildings of many Sikh shrines are in a dilapidated condition. Many gurdwaras are about to lose their existence. In order to carry out ‘kar seva’ at these gurdwaras Baba Harbans Singh of Delhi should be allowed to visit Pakistan so that the renovation of these Sikh shrines could be taken up as per Sikh traditions. Mr Talwandi said no proper care was being taken of Sikh shrines in Pakistan as Sikh priests were not posted there to perform religious duties. Permission may be got from the Government of Pakistan for the SGPC to depute priests and sevadars at Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Lahore in the beginning.

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