Thursday, August 22, 2019

Posted at: Aug 14, 2019, 7:05 AM; last updated: Aug 14, 2019, 7:05 AM (IST)

Despite tension, Sikh bodies plan events in Pakistan

SGPC asks devotees to submit requisite documents by August 20 for cross-border pilgrimage
Despite tension, Sikh bodies plan events in Pakistan
Questions are being raised over the safety of pilgrims in Pakistan. file

GS Paul
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 13

Amid tension simmering between India and Pakistan, the SGPC, DSGMC and SAD (Delhi) have planned cross-border pilgrimage and religious processions to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, scheduled in November.

Post abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan has snapped all bonhomie ties, be it through bilateral trade, air, road and rail as part of its series of unilateral contest against India. Recently, the Pakistan Rangers refused to carry on the customary gestures of exchanging sweets with the BSF to mark the occasion of Eid-ul Adha at the Indo-Pak border. Under such adverse circumstances, questions are being raised over the safety of the pilgrims and procurement of visa from the Pakistan authorities for these programmes.

The SGPC has announced to take pilgrimage to Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, Dehra Sahib and other Sikh shrines located in Pakistan in November and has asked the devotees to submit passports and relevant documents with its office by August 20.

Chief secretary, SGPC, Dr Roop Singh anticipated that the situation would be normalised, but expressed solidarity with the moves of the Indian government.

“We are preparing in advance as it will be a time-consuming exercise to furnish documentation. But we will not put the pilgrims at risk if the situation does not permit. Even if we manage to get the visa for jatha, we will abide by the nod of the Government of India only as national integration will still be our priority over all religious obligations and occasions,” he said.

The SAD (Delhi) has planned a nagar kirtan from Gurdwara Nanak Piao in north Delhi to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan on October 28, entering Pakistan on October 31 through the Attari-Wagah Joint Check Post.

The SAD (Delhi) president, Paramjit Singh Sarna, said, “Our preparations are underway as the situation will be normalised by then as far as religious front is concerned. Had there been any uncertainty, why would have Pakistan spent crores of rupees to give access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib corridor and chalked out mammoth celebration plans for Guru Nanak’s 550th anniversary on their side? We have got the nod from Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony in Pakistan Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and we will not face any issue in conducting nagar kirtan, though the number of devotees may diminish,” he said.

Similarly, the DSGMC has on cards a parallel nagar kirtan from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi to Nankana Sahib and looking forward to cross Attari-Wagah border on November 1.


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