High Commissioner for Pakistan Babar Amin Friday attended the celebrations of 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanank Sahib, at Perth, at the invitation of the United Sikhs and Australian Sikh Council, Western Australia.
Speaking at the ceremony, the High Commissioner stated that Pakistan has always endeavoured to provide the best possible facilities to the Sikhs from across the world to perform their religious ceremonies in a conducive atmosphere.
The Sikh pilgrims visit their holy sites such as Janam Asthan Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Narowal, Punja Sahib Hasanabdal and many other such sacred places in Pakistan throughout the year.
The High Commissioner stated that the government of Pakistan pays a special attention for the upkeep and renovation of Sikh Gurdwaras. Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee organizes all Sikh religious rites and festivals.
No visa required for Indian pilgrims visiting Kartarpur: Prime Minister Imran Khan
Informing about the special initiative of the Prime Minister Imran Khan to open Kartarpur Corridor, the High Commissioner stated that bilateral agreement on the modalities has already been signed between Pakistan and India on 24 October 2019.
Kartarpur is revered by the Sikhs for Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, had spent the last eighteen years of his life over there. The Sikhs had been urging Pakistan to further facilitate access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Prime Minister Imran Khan announced visa free Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh Pilgrims, soon after his appointment and invited Indian government for talks on the modalities.
Pakistan looks forward to opening the Corridor on 9 November 2019. Initially 5,000 Sikh pilgrims would be provided visa free access every day through the Corridor. This numbers would be enhanced to daily 10,000 in due course.
The High Commissioner also informed the audience about the easing of visa requirements for Sikhs settled in various countries intending to visit Pakistan for pilgrimage.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday also announced for Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India that they wont need a passport – just a valid ID and they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration & on Guruji’s 550th birthday.
The Government of Pakistan formed special committees to oversee the development and maintenance of the Kartarpur Corridor and complete renovation as well as enlargement of the Darbar sahib Kartarpur Gurdwara Complex. In an enormous amount of work undertaken during the last one year, Darbar sahib is now the world’s largest Gurdwara Complex, with an area of over 1500 acres.
Mr. Harkirat Singh, Australian Sikh Council, Mr. Gurbaksh Singh, Sikh Supreme Council of Australia, Mr. Jarnail Singh Bhaur, Sikh Gurudwara Perth Bennett Springs, and Dr. Sukhpreet Singh Udoke, Founder, Institution for Teaching Ideology, Heritage and Artefacts of Sikhs and others appreciated the High Commissioner for gracing the occasion and briefing them about the Kartarpur Corridor and Darbar sahib Gurdwara complex.
They also lauded the Government of Pakistan for providing an highly friendly and conducive environment to the Sikh pilgrims. The Sikh Speakers especially thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for his epoch-making initiative of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.