PM Shehbaz, President Zardari felicitate Sikh community on Baisakhi

Islamabad reiterates resolve to protect minorities' rights, facilitate Sikh pilgrims from all over the world

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Web Desk
Sikh pilgrims gather at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib during the Baisakhi festival in Hasan Abdal. — AFP/File
Sikh pilgrims gather at the Gurdwara Panja Sahib during the Baisakhi festival in Hasan Abdal. — AFP/File
  • Baisakhi's "harvest festival" marks beginning of new year.
  • Around 2,400 Sikh pilgrims from India celebrate Baisakhi in Pakistan.
  • PM, president express underscore country's religious, cultural diversity.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari Sunday felicitated the Sikh community which is celebrating Baisakhi — the ancient harvest festival which holds key significance in Sikhism and also marks the beginning of the new year.

"I extend my heartiest greetings to the Sikh community all over the world and in Pakistan on the occasion of the colourful festival of Baisakhi," PM Shehbaz said in a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Highlighting Baisakhi's importance as a symbol of the spring season and embodies love, affection and happiness, the premier said that the festival adds to Pakistan's religious diversity which reflects a "beautiful blend of different faiths and cultures".

"I want to send you all a message of love, peace and love. Let's play our part in creating a peaceful world together," the prime minister said.

Furthermore, the PM reassured that both federal and provincial governments are providing all the relevant and necessary facilities to the Sikh pilgrims who reached Pakistan from all over the world.

Meanwhile, President Zardari also congratulated the Sikh community and reiterated Pakistan's commitment towards the protection of minorities and their rights.

"Pakistan will take all possible steps to facilitate the Sikh community [as it is] determined to protect minorities and their rights," the statement from the President House read.

As many as 2,400 Sikh pilgrims from India crossed into Pakistan via Wagah Border to participate in Khalsa Janam Day and Baisakhi celebrations, The News reported on Sunday.

Each year, thousands of Sikhs visit Hassan Abdal, which is also the birthplace of Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak, to celebrate Baisakhi.

The main event of Vaisakhi Mela will be held on Sunday (today) at Gurudwara Panja Sahib and the Sikh pilgrims will return to India after completing their 10-day pilgrimage on April 22, the publication added citing an Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB) spokesperson.