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Pakistan cancels Baisakhi Celebrations due to virus crisis

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  • Post category:Featured / Punjab
  • Post last modified:06/04/2020
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TAXILA: Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal has informed today that  a meeting of the ETPB and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbadhank Committee (PSGPC) had unanimously decided that there would be no Baisakhi celebrations at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal in 2020. 

The Baisakhi Mela was scheduled to begin on  Tuesday 14th of April  in Hassanabdal. The visit of  3,000 Sikhs from India and 2,000 from elsewhere around the world had also been cancelled. Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi would not issue visas to pilgrims this year.

“We have monitored the situation closely in recent days and worked with government departments including the PSGPCand other stakeholders. We are committed to following the guidelines set by the federal government to ensure a safe environment for our Sikh pilgrim guests and we would not risk their health amid the global coronavirus outbreak,” (ETPB) Deputy Secretary Shrines Imran Gondal maintained.

It is pertinent to mention here that last year some fifteen thousand pilgrims visited Hassanabdal gurdwaras. Baisakhi Mela or the spring harvest festival marks the Sikh new year.

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

Sikh yatrees leave for India after Baisakhi festival

21st of April, 2020

LAHORE: Indian Sikh yatrees on Sunday returned to their homeland by the special trains after celebrating Baisakhi festival in Pakistan for 10 days.

The yatrees reached here on April 12 from India to celebrate Baisakhi festival. Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and other relevant departments had made foolproof security arrangements besides immigration, customs, bank and medical camp facilities at Wagah railway station to facilitate the pilgrims.

On their departure, the Sikh yatrees said that they received love, security, facilities and cooperation in Pakistan more than their expectations.

They thanked the government of Pakistan and the ETPB for better security and other arrangements and said that they were going to their homeland with the message of love, peace and friendship.

Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi at Gurdwara Punja Sahib

14th of April, 2019

HASAN ABDAL: Three-day Baisakhi celebrations, to mark the advent of the order of the *Khalsa by 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji, concluded at Gurdwara Punja Sahib here today.

Ten thousand Sikh yatrees – (2000 Indians) – from across the world, including Pakistan, India, Canada, the United Kingdom, participated in the festivities.

Baisakhi processions called Nagar Keertan were taken out in the premises of Gurdwara Punja Sahib with traditional performances and religious rites.

Addressing the concluding ceremony titled Bhog Akhand Paath Sahib at the Gurdwara Prime Minister’s Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that the PTI government is committed to provide equal rights to minorities of the country, considering them as equal citizens. He said PM had sent across the message of love for Sikh community by announcing the opening of Kartarpur corridor. Adviser said that a jungle named Baba Nanak Nature Reserve was being established at Nankana Sahib over 2500 acres of land retrieved from illegal occupants. Similarly, Baba Guru Nanak Dev University has been announced by the PM. He further stated that all these steps suggest that the government was serious to provide maximum facilities to minorities in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion Parliamentary Secretary for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Aftab Jahangir said: “We want to give a message that every citizen in Pakistan equal rights…Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to do politics of love and harmony and his initiative of the opening of Kartarpur corridor reflects the same”. He invited Sikh community belonging to all parts of the world to explore beautiful tourist attractions in the country.

*The Khalsa Panth was founded in Anandpur Sahib in 1699. | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.