Monday, November 05, 2007

Pak emergency hinders Sikh pilgrims' visit

The imposition of emergency in Pakistan has come as a damper for Sikh pilgrims planning to visit Pakistan for the 539th birth anniversary celebrations of first Sikh master Guru Nanak Dev. Intelligence officials here are of view that apart from a strict watch being kept on movement of Sikh devotees visiting neighbouring country, there is all likelihood of Pakistan government not issuing adequate visas to Sikhs in wake of the internal law and order situation there.

Nearly 3,000 Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan on Guru Nanak's birth anniversary and 10,000 arrive from other countries. Sikh bodies have urged Pakistan president Pervez Musharaff not let the political turmoil in the country affect the religious occasion and to ensure security cover to visiting Sikh pilgrims.

Bhishan Singh, president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), told TOI over phone from Lahore on Sunday “It is a religious function, and I think there won't be any kind of interruption in religious ceremonies.”

Not ruling out the possibility of Pakistan High Commission denying visas to several Sikh devotees owing to internal problems, Daljit Singh Bedi, additional secretary, SGPC, said it was the Pakistan government's duty to provide adequate security cover to pilgrims.

Plan Pakistan Gurudwara Tours through Sikhtourism.