Pakistan has issued 3000 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims to arrive for celebrations marking the 552nd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, said the information ministry.
Every year, thousands of Sikhs travel to Pakistan to participate in Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations. This year, they will begin on November 17th.
“Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued around 3000 visas to Indian Sikh Yatrees to participate in the 552nd Birth Anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak in Pakistan from 17-26 November 2021,” the ministry said.
During their stay in Pakistan, Sikh pilgrims would pay respect at different Gurdwaras, including Gurdwara Janamasthan and Gurdawara Darbar Sahib.
“The issuance of maximum number of pilgrimage visas is in line with the Government of Pakistan’s efforts for promoting visits to religious shrines in Pakistan,” the ministry’s statement read.
Much of the Sikh heritage is located in Pakistan, including Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, which is also of particular importance to the Sikh community as it was built in tribute to Guru Nanak, who established the town of Kartarpur in 1515. It is also his final resting place.
The Pakistani government has in recent years taken several initiatives to facilitate Sikh pilgrims, including by opening in 2019 a visa-free passage, the Kartarpur corridor, connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to the border with India and allowing Indian Sikhs to visit the site.
The opening of the corridor on Nov. 9, 2019 marked the first time Indian Sikh pilgrims could enter Pakistan without a visa since 1947.