The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued 2200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations from 12-21 April 2019.
Under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh Yatrees (pilgrims) from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals/occasions every year.
The 2200 visas issued by the Pakistan High Commission are in addition to the visas granted to Sikh pilgrims participating in the event from other countries.
Commenting on the occasion, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood stated that the gesture by the Government of Pakistan to issue these visas was reflective of the reverence attached to Baisakhi, both in its religious and cultural dimensions. Besides marking the start of the new Sikh year, Baisakhi is the time to harvest the rabi crop.
The Pakistan High Commissioner added: “We extend our profound greetings and felicitations to all our brothers and sisters celebrating this auspicious occasion and wish the visiting pilgrims a spiritually fulfilling journey.”
During their visit to Pakistan, the Yatrees would visit the holiest shrines of Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib.
The issuance of these pilgrimage visas is in line with the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate visits to religious shrines and strengthen people-to-people exchanges. This also reflects the commitment of the Government of Pakistan to faithfully implement the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines. Pakistan remains committed to preserving sacred religious places and extending all possible facilitation for the visiting pilgrims of all faiths.