LAHORE – A large number of Sikh pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan, on Tuesday gathered at the Gurdwara Janamasthan Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev in this country’s Punjab province, to mark his 550 birth anniversary.
The Sikhs carried out a palki from the revered shrine and moved to eight other smaller Gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib city in the country’s Punjab province.
The Sikh pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara and performed religious rituals.
The year 2019 marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose birthplace is Sri Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion Federal Interior Minister Ijaz Shah said, Pakistan has given a message of peace by inaugurating the Kartarpur Corridor and making historic arrangements to let Sikh pilgrims celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
He said the Sikhs expressed joy over the arrangements regarding the birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak and opening of the Kartarpur Corridor project.
The Kartarpur Corridor was thrown open by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines in the Pakistani town of Narowal.
The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan President Arif Alvi addressed the Sikhs at the Governor’s House in Lahore where Governor Sarwar had invited some 2,000 Sikh pilgrims, who had come from different parts of the world, including India, for a luncheon, Dawn News reported.
Alvi said Sikhs would be welcomed in Pakistan and doors would remain wide open for them at every occasion. He lauded Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee led by Chaudhry Sarwar for making arrangement for the corridor opening ceremony and for arrangements made for the birth anniversary celebrations.
“Pakistan is advocating love and peace as wars are not the solution to issues, which could be resolved through dialogues,” he said.
Governor Sarwar said, “Pakistan is a safe country for minorities and it is working for restoration of religious places of not only the Sikh community but also other minorities including Christians and Hindus”.
Notwithstanding their strained ties, India and Pakistan signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor. According to the pact, Pakistan will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
Guru Nanak Dev spent last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world’s largest Sikh Gurdawara.