Over 500 Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan

Lahore: More than 500 Sikh pilgrims from India will arrive here in Pakistan next week to take part in events to mark the death anniversary of the king of the first Sikh empire Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.

“At least 500 Sikhs are due to arrive at Wagah from India on June 21 to observe Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s death anniversary,” Amir Hashmi, spokesman for Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), which looks after the holy places of minorities in Pakistan, said.

The main event will be held at Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore on June 26 to observe the 177th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, he said. The number of pilgrims could rise as there are two groups of Shurmani Gurdwara Parbhandhi Committee. Members of one another group are yet to get their visas, he said. “The visiting pilgrims will visit their other holy places including Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib between June 22 and 25. They will return for their homeland on June 28,” Hashmi said. The ETPB has also written to the Pakistan railways to send a train with air-conditioned bogies to bring the Sikh pilgrims to Lahore. “The weather is extremely hot therefore the railways must send a train with air-conditioned bogies to facilitate visiting Indian Sikhs,” a letter sent by ETPB said. Free residence would be provided to the pilgrims and Pakistani rangers and police would provide them security, Hashmi said. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was the great king of first Sikh empire. — PTI

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