Pakistan's reverence for the 'saint of peace' – Baba Guru Nanak

Pakistan is home to some of the most important pilgrimage sites for Sikhs


Our Correspondent November 19, 2021

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims from across the globe have gathered in the Nankana Sahib district of Punjab to celebrate the 552nd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of their religion.

The 10-day celebrations began on Wednesday in Nankana Sahib – the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak with Akhand Path, a reading of 1,430 pages of the holy book of Sikhism, the Granth Sahib.

Pakistan is home to some of the most important pilgrimage sites for Sikhs. They include the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469, Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, and Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal.

Sikhs from Afghanistan have arrived in Pakistan through the Torkham Border and A group of Indian Sikh pilgrims has arrived on November 17 through the Wahga border. During the celebrations, Sikh pilgrims will also be visiting Darbar Kartarpur Sahib.

The birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak would be celebrated on November 19 and the government of Pakistan has made elaborate arrangements to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims to visit the birth place of Guru Nanak and perform their religious rites.

The government issued 3,000 visas to Indian Sikhs and the pilgrims will be extended all possible conveniences during their stay in Pakistan to celebrate their religious event and visit different religious sites located across the country. 

The event, apart from the celebrations, will also include meeting with the Pakistani leadership, media personalities and holding cultural events.

The pilgrims will also visit their holy sites in several parts of Punjab, including Kartarpur sahib, where Guru Nanak settled and died in 1539.

Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over IIOJK, the government has opened the Kartarpur corridor to allow Indian pilgrims to visit the holy Sikh shrine in Pakistan.

The number of Sikhs living in Pakistan is estimated to be between 30,000 - 40,000, but the country is host to some of the most important pilgrimage sites for the religion.

 

They include the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469, Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara and Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal town, where the handprint of Guru Nanak is believed to be imprinted on a boulder.

Since Partition, Pakistan has been making all possible arrangements including the preservation/ renovation of Sikh sacred sites and extending facilities to Sikh pilgrims coming from all over the world. Sikhs from India, Canada, the United States, Malaysia and several other countries visit Pakistan each year.

The government has also offered visa-free access to devotees from India and has made all possible administrative arrangements.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan had also issued a special coin commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak to pay homage.

The inauguration of Kartarpur corridor by Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 19, 2019 was welcomed by the global Sikh community. 

The Sikh community in Indian Punjab and Haryana had not only welcomed it but also thanked Pakistani leadership for the gift. This was clearly visible in the display of the premier's posters in Indian Punjab and fluttering of Pakistan flags in Jallandhar in 2019.

Former cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sandhu, while addressing at the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, said the Sikh community all over the world was thankful to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take the bold step to build Kartarpur Corridor without looking at gains or losses, “You have won hearts of Sikhs”.

 

 

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