The three-day celebrations of 545th birth anniversary of Sikh spiritual leader Baba Gurunanak Dev Jee started here amid stringent security measures.

A large number of Sikh Yatrees from India and other countries have arrived in Nankana Sahib to participate in the celebrations. On the other hand, the government has made special arrangements for their transportation‚ security and healthcare.

According to Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Deputy Secretary (Shrines) Syed Faraz Abbas said that nearly 2,000 foreigners from various countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and France would participate in the ten days celebrations.

He said that the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the Evacuee Trust Property Board had made elaborate security arrangements for the safety of the visiting Sikh devotees. Abbas said that luggage scanners would be installed at the entrance of Gurudwaras. Additional walk-through gates and surveillance cameras have also been installed at various places where devotees would perform their rituals.

The ETPB officer said that the yatrees would perform rituals at Punja Sahib Hassan Abdal from November 18 to 20, including Yatra Punja Sahib, Matha Taki and Ashnan. They would also visit the shrines of Baba Wali Qandhari at the hilltop and recite from the Sikh holy book, Guru Garanth Sahib.

He said that on November 21, the Sikh pilgrims would board a special train to visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, from where they would return to India on November 24.

Meanwhile, the district police have finalised all out arrangements to ensure foolproof security of visiting Sikh yatrees in Nankana Sahib. A large number of Sikh yatrees have arrived from all over the world to participate in 543rd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak. While talking to newsmen Nankana DPO Syed Muntazir Mehdi said that effective deployment of policemen would be ensured at all important point across the district, especially in and around Gurdwara. He said that the district police had chalked out a comprehensive strategy in collaboration with other departments concerned to maintain law and order and to avert any untoward incident.

He said an additional force of the Special Branch, Elite Force, the Punjab Constabulary, Lady Police and Rangers would be deployed to ensure security. Strict checking of vehicles will be made at all entry and exit points, he added.

Muntazir Mehdi pointed out that no vehicle parking would be permitted within 200 yards radius of Gurdwara. He said that no one would be allowed to stand on rooftops of commercial and residential buildings situated near the Gudwara while armed police personnel would be deployed on rooftops to keep any eye on anti-social elements. The police patrolling will also be enhanced, he added.