Pakistan has issued 2200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations from 12-21 April, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi said on Tuesday.
These visas were in addition to the visas granted to Sikh pilgrims participating in the event from other countries, the release added.
Under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals/occasions every year.
Commenting on the development, Pakistan’s outgoing High Commissioner and Foreign Secretary-designate Sohail Mahmood said Islamabad’s gesture was reflective of the reverence attached to Baisakhi, both in its religious and cultural dimensions. ‘’Besides marking the start of the new Sikh year, Baisakhi is the time to harvest the rabi crop,’’ he added.
During their visit to Pakistan, the pilgrims would visit the holiest shrines of Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib.
The issuance of these pilgrimage visas was in line with Islamabad’s efforts to facilitate visits to religious shrines and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.
Meanwhile, Pakistan said it has accepted India’s “proposal for a technical meeting” on the Kartarpur Corridor on 16 April.
“Continuing with #Pakistan’s spirit of constructive engagement, we have agreed to the Indian proposal for a technical meeting on 16 April. We expect positivity from India so that the corridor becomes reality,’’ Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted.
Continuing with #Pakistan’s spirit of constructive engagement, we have agreed to the Indian proposal for a technical meeting on 16 April. We expect positivity from #India so that the corridor becomes reality for 550th celebrations. #PakistanKartarpurSpirit
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) April 8, 2019