Every year, numerous Sikh pilgrims from India visit Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan under the framework of the 1974 Pakistan-India Agreement on visits to religious shrines.
Sohail Mahmood, Pakistan's High Commissioner in New Delhi, said in a statement that the move "reflected the veneration paid to Baisakhi, both in its religious and cultural dimensions."
Baisakhi is a harvest festival celebrated in India. It is also the Sikh new year.
According to protocol, these devotees who are granted visitor visas can only travel in groups, the number of which is regulated annually.
This procedure applies to five Indian shrines: Ajmer's Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti, Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Hazrat Amir Khusro, Sirhind Sharif, Punjab's Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Sani, and Kaliyar Sharif's Hazrat Khwaja Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir.
There are 15 shrines in Pakistan that are subject to protocols, which include Gurudwara Shri Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sri Panja Sahib located in Rawalpindi.
Additionally, the Samadhi of Maharaj Ranjit Singh, Gurudwara Diwan Khana, Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj, Singhanian, and Gurudwara Bhai Tara Singh are also included in the list of shrines subject to these protocols.
Gurudwara of Sixth Guru, Mozang, Birthplace of Shri Guru Ram Das, Gurudwara Cheveen Padshahi, Shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh, Gurudwara Shri Dera Sahib, Gurudwara Janam Asthan, Mozang and Shrine at Sree Katasraj in Lahore; Shadani Darbar in Sindh’s Hyat Pitafi as well as Sadhu Bela in Khanpur and Mirpur Mathelo (Sindh) are also included.
Pakistan's Charge d'Affaires in India Salman Sharif expressed his thoughts on the occasion, extending heartfelt congratulations to the pilgrims and wishing them a pleasant and fulfilling trip.
He also underlined that Pakistan is dedicated to maintaining holy religious sites and facilitating visiting pilgrims.
On their way, pilgrims used to make stops at Dera Sahib, Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib. They will arrive in Pakistan on April 9 and leave on April 18.
On Sunday, Indian Sikh pilgrims will cross the Wagah border into Pakistan, where they will be welcomed. After clearing immigration and customs, pilgrims will be transported by special train to Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal.