–Around 30,000 Sikh pilgrims from around the world expected to attend celebrations
LAHORE: Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has completed the preparations for the 549th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji whereas Gurdwara Janam Asthan has also been renovated and upgraded for the Sikh pilgrims, Pakistan Today learnt Saturday.
As per the details, around 3,000 Sikh pilgrims from India and 20,000 from other parts of the world will be arriving in Pakistan to attend the ceremony and related rituals.
The pilgrims from India would reach the country on a special train via the Wahga Border and be taken to Nankana Sahib on November 21 while the main ceremony and other rituals would commence from November 23.
In connection with the upcoming religious festival of the Sikh community, Gurdwara Janam Asthan has been renovated, decorated and illuminated whereas arrangements for langar [free meals] have also been made. Besides up to the mark cleanliness measures, all rooms of Janam Asthan have been sprayed with anti-dengue insecticides as well.
ETPB has also put in place strict security measures for the pilgrims and CCTV cameras as well as walk through gates have been installed at the gurdwara. Further, to ensure uninterrupted power supply, generators have been made available.
A ten days schedule has been released by ETPB for the pilgrims which will begin from the date of their arrival.
According to the schedule, on November 22, the Sikh pilgrims will be visiting Sucha Souda in Farooqabad and Gurdwara Rohri Sahib in Emanabad whereas during their ten-day visit, they will also be going to Kartarpur Narowal, Punja Sahib Hassanabdal and Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.
They will remain in the provincial capital for three days.
“We have ensured state-of-the-art arrangements for the Sikh pilgrims who will be coming for the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” ETPB spokesperson Amir Hashmi told Pakistan Today.
“This is a very sacred occasion for the Sikh community and we have made all the arrangements while keeping in view their reverence.”
The main celebration will be held on November 23 at Nankana Sahib where the chief guest will be Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, he said and added that other eminent personalities, including social workers, federal secretaries and representatives of minorities would also be invited.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Shrines Deputy Secretary Imran Gondal said that ETPB had already conducted meetings with the security departments to take appropriate security measures during the pilgrims’ stay in Pakistan.
“We will be taking all necessary steps to protect and facilitate the pilgrims and are in touch with Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee as well,” he said.
Gondal further said that they were expecting around 30,000 pilgrims from around the world, including Pakistan and India.
ETPB Secretary Tariq Wazir Khan said that their mission was to promote interfaith harmony and give a message of peace to the world.
“It has been a tradition of ETPB to provide the best hospitality to Sikh pilgrims so that they return with good memories of Pakistan and its people,” he told Pakistan Today.