LAHORE: The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued over 3,800 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak Devji, the founder of the Sikh faith, being held from November 21 to November 30 in Pakistan.
A large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe religious festivals every year.
The 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 pilgrims for Guru Nanak Devji’s birth anniversary celebrations, beyond the maximum number of 3,000 that mutually agreed between the two countries for this event.
Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood said that this was a ‘special gesture’ by the government in view of Guru Nanak Devji’s 550th birthday. “For the very first time we are giving visas to so many people,” he said.
Issuing visas to Sikh pilgrims is in line with the government’s efforts to promote visits to religious shrines.
Health department to provide medical cover to yatrees
Meanwhile, the Punjab health department has made all necessary arrangements to provide medical cover to all visiting pilgrims.
Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department Saqib Zaffer, in a notification issued to all heads of medical teaching institutions and attached hospitals on Tuesday, said that teaching hospitals situated at holy sites in Lahore, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Sialkot, Hassan Abdal and Taxila should keep all health facilities up to the mark.
“In order to thwart any untoward incident and to ensure availability of medical cover at site, necessary arrangements pertaining to availability of staff, sufficient quantities of medicines, fully functioning equipment and fully equipped ambulances may be made available at hospitals,” read the directive.