According to official statistics, 5 to 10 thousand Sikhs visit Pakistan annually for the religious purposes. Most of these are Indian but many from other countries also visit us. Pakistan issue them pilgrimage visa on various events like Baisakhi and also for the visit of their holy places like Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and Kartarpur. The process of attaining visa is very much costly and troublesome. Also, the visa is issued on rare occasions. This visa policy is directly related with the ups and downs of Indo-Pak relations.

Kartarpur is a small town located in Narowal district and is about four kilometers inside the Indian border. This town is famous because of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which is the place where Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikhism spent last 18 years of his life. This is a holy place for Sikhs. Majority of Sikhs want to visit this place occasionally but cannot do it because of visa restrictions and high cost of visit.

Pakistan has offered a great facility to them constructing a corridor to connect Gurdwara Sahib with the border. This complex covers an area of forty-five acres. This complex has been completed very swiftly and within the given time deadlines successfully by our government. An agreement has been concluded between both of the sides on this matter, according to which daily 5000 and even more Sikh visitors will be allowed to visit the Gurdwara Sahib without visa and on the payment of very small visit fee. This process will be stated on 9th November, on the occasion of 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak. Ten thousand Sikh pilgrims will come through this corridor. People from other religions can also visit here.

The Sikh community around the world is showing its happiness on it. Now they can visit here any time without any restriction. This is a good step on the behalf of our government to improve our relations with India. This will help to reduce the hostile attitude of BJP government. This will also bring the people of neighboring countries closer.

TARIQ KHAN,

Faisalabad.