LAHORE: Over 450 Sikh yatrees on Tuesday arrived here through Wagah Border crossing to observe the 183rd death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.
Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was known as the first ruler of the Sikh empire who came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early 19th century.
Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Pardhan Sardar Ameer Singh, former Pardhan Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Sardar Satwant Singh and ETPB board officials received the yatrees.
On the occasion, Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal said that under the directions of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani, all arrangements including security and accommodation have been made to facilitate the yatrees. Arrangements for filtered cold water, clean washrooms, comfortable sitting arrangements, besides others have been made available for the Sikh yatrees, he added.
He said that a plan to restore Sikh heritage was being evolved, adding that ETPB had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Walled City of Lahore Authority for the conservation of Haveli Bhuman Shah Dipalpur, Haveli Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Gujranwala, Haveli Bakhshi Ram Gujar Khan and Gurdwara Bhai Karam Singh Jehlum.
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Pardhan Sardar Ameer Singh said that ETPB and the government of Pakistan put in place special arrangements including travelling, accommodation and security for the yatrees.
Addressing on the occasion, Sikh leader Gurmeet Singh said that Sikh pilgrims came to Pakistan with the message of love, peace, friendship and harmony. He expressed gratitude to the government of Pakistan for granting visas to the Sikh pilgrims.
He expressed his appreciation towards the Pakistan Sikh Gurdawa Parbandhak Committee and local administration for facilitating their visit. “Pakistan is sacred for us and we love it and we come here with a message of peace and brotherhood,” he maintained.
During their stay from June 21 to June 30, the Sikh yatrees would visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassanabdal, Sacha Sauda, Nankana Sahib, and Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore. The main ceremony in this regard would be held at Gurdwara Dera on June 29.
It may be mentioned here that on the occasion of death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had issued 495 visas to Sikh yatrees.