sh shahid mehmood

NANKANA SAHIB - More than 2,387 Sikh Yatrees from India and other countries and around 9,500 from inside Pakistan have reached here while another 17,000 Yatrees will arrive at Gurdwara Janamasthan to celebrate the 576th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Gee, the founder of the religion.

The foreigners include 600 Sikhs from different parts of the World including UK, Europe, Australia, Dubai, Afghanistan, Thailand, the United States and Canada. Also the remaining Yatrees would be accorded a warm welcome by the district administration, police officials at Nankana Railways Station.

They would perform their rituals like, Arambh, Madh ki Ardas, Bhog, Matha Tekki, Akhand Path and Ashnan at the Gurdwara. According to Sikhism, Baba Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1469 in the month of Besaki. Therefore, the festival is celebrated in Nankana Sahib every year.

On Tuesday morning at around 10.00am, they will go to Gurdwara Sacha Souda in Farooqabad to perform their religious rituals and would return on the same day by special buses escorted by heavy police contingent. On Wednesday, a procession would be taken out by the all participants in their traditional way inside the Gurdwara Janamasthan.

According to the schedule provided by the district police, on conclusion of the festival on November 29, they would go to Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassanabdal and on December 1, they would reach Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore. On December 3, they would visit Gurdawara Rorri Sahib, Eminabad and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Narowal and will return Lahore by road.

On December 4, the pilgrims will leave the country by special trains from Wahgha Railways station and from Allama Iqbal International Airport for their respective destinations. A comprehensive security plan has been finalised for the pilgrims. More than 2,100 policemen including female personnel of the Elite Police Force, special branch and other law-informant agencies have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident. As per the plan, closed-circuit television cameras and walkthrough gates have been set up, besides provision of metal detectors and scanners to the policemen. Likewise, telephone and bank booths, currency exchange and medical camp have also been established. In collaboration with Pakistan Parbandakh Committee, the administration has made the arrangements.

Talking to this scribe, Jatha or party leader Sardar Dr Jhang Bahadur Singh said that this was his second visit to Pakistan. For the first time he came there in the year of 2000. "I really appreciate the different development projects being carried out especially in the Gurdwara and generally throughout the country by the government of Pakistan," he said.

The party leader and deputy party leader Sardar Gulzar Singh Barar said that trade volume between India and Pakistan must be enhanced. They said that all the disputes between the neighboring countries must be resolved through talks and not militarily. They said that the recent visit of Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbeer Singh Badaal to Pakistan would definitely produce fruitful results. The people of Indian Punjab are anxiously waiting for according a warm welcome to Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister during World Kabadi tournament in Indian Punjab, they said.

The leaders also said that all the Sikh community of the world was satisfied with the facilities provided by Pakistan to them for performing their religious activities.  Surjeet Singh, another pilgrim, demanded early release of Pakistani and Indian prisoners' release from both the countries' jails.