Attock-A large number of Sikh pilgrims including 2,000 Indians left Gurdwara Siri Punja Sahib Hasanabdal after attending Baisakhi festival. Additional Secretary (ETPB) Evacuee Trust Property Board Rana Shahid, Deputy Secretary Imran Gondal and other officers were present on the occasion.

During the final ceremony the yatrees recited their holy book and performed other rituals. The Indian Sikh pilgrims led by Sardar Arvinder Singh and other pilgrims who had come from different areas performed their rituals, recited their holy book Guru Grunt and had Ashnan (holy bath)

On their departure officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), led by Additional Secretary (Shrines) Rana Shahid, President Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Sardar Amir Singh and others accompanied them at Hasanabdal Railway Station. The pilgrims thanked Pakistan for facilitating their trip.

They said, we feel very happy when we come to Pakistan (the land of our gurus), we have come here with a lot of love for the people of Pakistan,” said Sardar Arvinder Singh, the party leader/Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee India while talking to the media. They expressed gratitude to Pakistan for issuing visas in great numbers, enabling pilgrims to participate in the Baisakhi festival.

Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee chief Sardar Sukhbeer Singh also expressed his satisfaction. For their security during travel a total of 400 policemen of the railways had been deployed. Special commandos and snipers have also been deployed at each railway station especially Wagah, Lahore, Hasanabdal and Nankana Sahib said an official of ETPB. Owing to security concerns, none of the Sikh pilgrims were allowed to interact with the general public or leave their specified area of stay, and they were also not allowed to carry inflammable utensils in train.

Additional Secretary ETPB Rana Shahid on the occasion said that govt was making all efforts to facilitate Sikh pilgrims specially those coming from India and other countries. He said that every year a handsome amount is spent on the maintenance and renovation of Gurdwaras and all possible facilities are provided to them during travelling and their stay at Gurdwaras.

He said, arrangements related to cold water, clean washrooms, trains, sitting arrangements and security are made available for the Sikh yatrees”. On the occasion Attock Police under the command of DPO Attock Rana Shoaib Mahmood had made elaborate security arrangements. Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Noor ul Amin Mangal and DC Attock Muhammad Naeem Sindhu also paid visit to Gurdwara Punja Sahib to ensure provision of facilities to the Sikh pilgrims.

After attending the main ceremony at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib (Hasanabdal), the pilgrims will visit Nankana Sahib and other places.

One of the leaders of Indian Sikh Pilgrims Ravendar Singh Khalsa said, “the pilgrims who are part of Sikh Jatha, are lucky who availed the opportunity to visit Gurdwara Punja Punja Sahib in Pakistan. After participating in the main congregation of “Khalsa Sajna Divas”(Besakhi), at Punja Sahib, the jatha left for Nankana Sahib the birth place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak. After paying abeisance at Nankana on April 15 , the jatha will reach Gurdwara Sucha Sauda on April 16 , following this jatha will visit Dehra Sahib Lahore on 17th and 18th April, and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib , Kartarpur Sahib on 19th and Gurdwara Rohri Sahib Emin Abad on April 20.