ATTOCK - Some 16 Indian Sikh pilgrims arrived on Friday at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal to mark the 411th death anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, fifth of the eleven Sikh gurus.

According to Sikhism, the event is also called Shaheedi Jor Mela or Shaheedi Purab of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. It is the first time since Kargil conflict that such low number of Indian Sikh pilgrims is visiting the area to offer their religious rituals.  

Deputy Secretary Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Imran Gondal told media that as many as 96 visas to intending Sikh pilgrims were issued by the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. However, he said when the pilgrims reached the Attari Railway Station, the Indian authorities refused to permit them to travel.

Talking to newsmen at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, the Sikh pilgrims strongly protested against the action of Indian authorities for not allowing around 82 Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan for offering their religious rituals. They demanded that the religion should be kept above the politics. Meanwhile, Regional Police Officer Fakhar Sultan Raja along with District Police Officer Zahid Nawaz Marwat also visited Gurdwara Punja Sahib and reviewed security arrangements in the area.