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Pakistan and India reflect on the opening of the Kartarpur border crossing

Pakistan and India reflect on the opening of the Kartarpur border crossing

LAHORE: The Indian government resumed talks with Pakistan on Wednesday to open the Kartarpur border crossing while Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria roamed the area.

The Punjab Assembly of India on Monday approved a unanimous resolution to address the issue of the opening of the border crossing for the 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak.

Bisaria was questioned about the Sikh shrine in Kartarpur, located about 13 kilometers east of Narowal and less than five kilometers from the Indian border.

Earlier, Army Chief of Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa spoke of the opening of the border in Kartarpur for the anniversary of Guru Nanak with former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu at Prime Minister Imran’s oath-taking ceremony.

550th anniversary of Guru Nanak: 10,000 Sikh pilgrims from India will receive visas
In April, the Evacuation Trust Ownership Committee (ETPB) and the Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee of Pakistan (PSGPC) decided to grant visas to 10,000 Sikhs from India to participate in the 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak.

The Pakistani authorities have given a green signal to the Shiromani committee, the largest Sikh representatives, and other small groups to participate in the celebrations.

After mutual consultation, the two bodies decided that the number of pilgrims, according to the 1974 Protocol between Pakistan and India on Visits to Religious Shrines, will increase from 3,000 to 10,000. In addition, there will be no restrictions on the number of Sikhs coming to Pakistan from other countries.

Pakistan will issue visas to the Shiromani community and other groups, according to the quota. All these groups will provide a list of pilgrims to EPTB; no other individual apart from these will be granted a visa.

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Approximately 0.1 million Sikhs want to visit Pakistan from India, Canada, the United States, Malaysia and several other countries. However, it is not possible to prepare and ensure the safety of all attendees on such a large scale, said a senior EPTB official as he spoke with Express News.

However, the final decision on the matter rests with the government and the federal Ministry of the Interior.

Although the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak is in November of this year according to the Roman calendar, the Sikh community will celebrate the occasion according to the Nanak Shahi calendar in November 2019.

The Federal Minister of Religious Affairs and Interreligious Harmony, Sardar Muhammad Yousuf, has already announced plans to issue a memorable coin commemorating the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak.

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