More than 8,000 Sikh pilgrims from all over the world will visit Pakistan to celebrate the 552nd birth anniversary of Sikh faith's founder, Guru Nanak Dev, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Saturday.
Pakistan has given visas to 855 Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on Guru Nanak Dev's birth anniversary but has denied the permission to 191 others, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said in Amritsar.
A group of Indian Sikh pilgrims is scheduled to depart on November 17 to participate in the ceremonies to be held at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib near Lahore in Pakistan's Punjab on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru.
"More than eight thousand Sikh Yatrees from all over the Globe are arriving in Pak to celebrate the Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, welcome to the land of Gurus, Sufis and Yugi's #GuruNanak," Chaudhry said on Twitter.
"Pakistan High Commission for India issues around 3000 visas to Indian Sikh Yatrees on the eve of the 552nd Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak," the Pakistan High Commission for India said in a tweet.
"Pakistan High Commission in India extends profound felicitations to the Sikh community in India and across the world on the 552nd Birth Anniversary of the founder of Sikh religion. The High Commission also wishes a spiritually rewarding yatra to the pilgrims visiting Pakistan," the mission said in another tweet.
During their stay in Pakistan, the Sikh pilgrims will pay obeisance at different gurdwaras including Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the Express Tribune said.
"Visas to the Sikh pilgrims have been issued under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, which provides for the visit of 3,000 Sikh pilgrims from India for the birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak. Thousands of Sikh pilgrims residing in countries other than India would also be visiting Pakistan to attend the event," according to a statement from the High Commission.