Over 1,300 Sikh pilgrims from India arrived in Punjab’s provincial capital on Tuesday to attend the Baisakhi festival at the historic Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan’s Hassanabdal town.
Officials of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee and Evacuee Trust Property Board, which maintains shrines of minority communities, greeted the pilgrims at the Wagah railway station.
The pilgrims, who arrived in two special trains, were sent to Lahore railway station after being cleared by immigration authorities.From Lahore, they will travel to Hassanabdal by train.
“We enjoyed travelling from Amritsar to Lahore and we received a warm welcome from the Pakistani authorities and the public,” Sardar Govinder Singh Shampurya, a leader of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, told reporters.He said a total of 1,389 Sikh pilgrims had arrived in Pakistan in the two special trains.
The EPTB has put in place elaborate security arrangements for the Baisakhi festival and Sikh pilgrims from around the world.
Baisakhi being celebrated from Tuesday onwards and about 13,000 Sikhs from Pakistan and abroad are expected to join the festivities.
Officials have said that more than 800 policemen, including commandos and over 100 officials in plainclothes, will be deployed for security duties in Hassanabdal.
Chaudhry Tanveer, an official of the EPTB said the pilgrims will be provided foolproof security and the Board has made all arrangements to facilitate the Sikhs.
After visiting Gurdwara Panja Sahab, the Sikhs will visit Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, and other religious sites.