500 more Indians allowed by Pakistan to attend Sikh festival

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Pakistan on Tuesday allowed a special group of a little more than 500 Indian Sikh pilgrims to join an event at Nankana Sahib that will launch celebrations marking the upcoming 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

The ‘jatha’ or caravan of Indian pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah border crossing on Tuesday morning, the Foreign Office said.

“These pilgrims are scheduled to kick start celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak from his birthplace, Nankana Sahib…on…1 August, 2019,” it said in a statement.

Every year, thousands of Indian Sikhs travel to Pakistan on the birth and death anniversaries of Guru Nanak, the Baisakhi festival and the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The Pakistan high commission in New Delhi issued visas to the Indian pilgrims on July 26.

These visas were “over and above” the thousands of visas granted every year under the framework of the India- Pakistan Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, the statement said.

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