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Pak invitation to Indian Sikhs: Guru Nanak's 551st birth anniversary

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ISLAMABD, 19 October, 2020, (TON):  The Pakistan government has sent out invitations to Indian Sikhs to attend celebrations marking the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The invitation is sent in advance via the Indian Sikh Sangats. The devotees will be offered a five-day visa to enter Pakistan after a mandatory Covid-19 test.

An official of the Abandoned Waqf Property Board said "All pilgrims coming to partake in the festivities of Baba Guru Nanak Dev's birth anniversary will required to observe and abide by all Covid-19 SOPs throughout their stay, even after showing the mandatory negative Covid-19 test."

The country's Waqf board and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee have also sent regular invitations and itineraries to different Sikh societies including the Shiromani Committee of India, inviting them to the festivities.

Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Indian Sikhs will be allowed to stay in Pakistan only for a limited period of time, without any extensions.

Guru Nanak Gurpurab, a three-day celebration will begin on November 27 at the Nankana Sahib, with celebrations continuing throughout the month.

Sardar Satwant Singh, head of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee said "The stay of Indian Sikhs in Pakistan had to be revised in consideration of closed borders and rising coronavirus tally in India."

There will be no new restrictions placed on the number of Indian Sikh pilgrims making the journey.

According to the bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan 3,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims will be allowed entry into Pakistan, specifically for the Gurdwara celebrations.

COVID-19 the pilgrims were provided with an option of a 10-day vista to visit multiple gurdwaras in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Hasan Abdal, Kartarpura, Rohri Sahib and Farooqabad but now the pilgrims will be restricted to Nankana Sahib only.

It has also been reported that certain Sikh societies including Shiromani Committee in India, have called on the Indian government to open the Kartarpur Corridor of India for Guru Nanak's birth anniversary.

Sources disclosed that Pakistan has shown its willingness to promote religious tourism in the country.  However, till now no response has been received from the Indian government on the matter.

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