Pakistan to make special arrangements for Indian pilgrims on Nankana Sahib massacre centenary

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) on Monday said their government has agreed to make special arrangements for the Indian pilgrims visiting the neighbouring country on the 100th anniversary of Saka Nankana Sahib (Nankana massacre).

Usually, such protocol is extended only to four jathas that visit Pakistan every year on the occasion of Baisakhi, Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, Guru Arjan Dev Shaheedi Divas and Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary. It involves special security arrangements such as deployment of paramilitary personnel during the visit.

The PSGPC office-bearers and government authorities including officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) on Monday met at Lahore to discuss the arrangements of the centenary function. ETPB chairman Ameer Ahmed and secretary Tariq Wazir attended the meeting.

“As Saka Nankana Sahib does not come under the protocol of four jathas coming from India, it was a big issue for us. But it is certainly a good development for the sangat that the Pakistan government has given nod for the similar protocol for this special jatha,” PSGPC president Satwant Singh said on phone.

“Also, there is no cap on the number of pilgrims. We will host all the pilgrims coming from India on the historic occasion,” added Singh.

Nearly 260 Sikhs were killed in the massacre that took place at Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib on February 20, 1921. The gurdwara reform movement started in the wake of the episode.

After the PSGPC got the nod of the Pakistan government for the event, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) initiated the visa process for pilgrims willing to go to Pakistan to attend the centenary event.

SGPC chief secretary Harjinder Singh said, “A jatha to be sent by the SGPC will include prominent personalities and sangats. The pilgrims who want to visit Sri Nankana Sahib on this day can submit their passports along with recommendation of their area members of the SGPC by January 15.”

Gurdwara body president Jagir Kaur said the PSGPC chief has personally invited her and Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh for the event.

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