Pakistan issues over 3800 visas to Sikh pilgrims on the eve of Baba Guru Nanak birth anniversary celebrations

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued over 3800 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the 549th birthday anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Pakistan from 21-30 November 2018. Under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh yatrees from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals/occasions every year. The over 3800 visas issued by the Pakistan High Commission are in addition to the visas issued to Sikh pilgrims participating in the event from other countries. This is by far the largest number of visas issued in recent years to Sikh yatrees for Baba Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations, well beyond the maximum number of 3000, mutually agreed between the two countries for this event. Commenting on the occasion, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood said this was a “special gesture” by the Pakistan Government in view of the 550th anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak commencing in earnest from this year. “We extend profound felicitations to our brothers and sisters celebrating this auspicious occasion and wish all yatrees a spiritually fulfilling yatra”, the Pakistan High Commissioner said. The issuance of pilgrimage visas to Sikh pilgrims is in line with the Government of Pakistan’s efforts for promoting visits to religious shrines and people-to-people interactions. This also reflects the commitment of the Government of Pakistan to faithfully implement the bilateral 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.