Pak extends visas of Indian Sikh pilgrims for 3 days

Lahore: Visas of some 850 Indian Sikhs, who are currently in Pakistan to participate in celebrations marking birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, have been extended for three more days to enable them to visit more shrines.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee had earlier obtained visas for the Indian pilgrims visiting Pakistan, which were valid from October 31 to November 6.

"Following a request from groups of pilgrims that could not visit several gurdwaras in Punjab because of paucity of time, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi conveyed their sentiments to authorities, including the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, and eventually their visas were extended for three days," ETPB spokesman Amer Hashmi told.

The ETPB maintains the shrines of minority communities in Pakistan and facilitates visits by pilgrims from abroad.

Earlier, during their seven-day stay in Pakistan, the pilgrims were scheduled to visit Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib, Guru Nanak's birthplace; Gurdwara Hasanabdal near Rawalpindi and Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.

The visiting Sikhs were at Gurdwara Dera Sahib when they were informed that their visas had been extended. The news brought happiness to the pilgrims, who would now be able to visit a few more gurdwaras.

The pilgrims have lauded the arrangements made by the ETBP, which has also arranged a dinner in honour of the visiting pilgrims at a hotel in Lahore.

Bureau Report