LAHORE: The 551st birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak on Monday was attended by Sikh pilgrims from the country and abroad, including 600 from India.
On Saturday, in Nankana Sahib, Kartarpura, Hassan Abdal and other locations in Pakistan, the three-day birthday celebration of the father of the Sikh faith began.
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Langar had all the visitors prepared for him. In the kitchens of Nankana Sahib, hundreds of Sikh women sliced onions, kneaded flour and made bread to feed the poor, and in the Sikh religion, Kar Seva is considered a sacred obligation.
At the central ceremony at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak, on Monday, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri spoke.
PM says rights of all minorities will be safeguarded
He said that amid rising cases of coronavirus, under strict enforcement of standard operating procedures, the government ensured that the birth anniversary was held (SOPs). “We do not want followers of any religion to believe that any discrimination against them is being committed,” he said.
The Minister assured the audience that the work on Baba Guru Nanak University would be completed at the stated time and that a connection road from the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway would be constructed for the Kartarpur Corridor so that Guru Nanak’s followers could easily access Kartarpur Sahib from Nankana Sahib.
Mr. Qadri said Without any discrimination, Pakistan treats everyone equally and has promised to remove all obstacles to interfaith harmony.”
He said that all of India’s minorities faced violence at the hands of the majority Hindus.
Baba Guru Nanak, the minister said, was a wonderful name for mankind, and he will be honoured forever. He congratulated Baba Guru Nanak’s followers on his 551st birth anniversary. Among the visitors, he also distributed presents.
The ceremonies were attended by Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine, Chairman of the Chela Ram National Minority Commission, MPA Mahindarpal Singh and Indian Sikh leaders, in addition to around 4,000 local and international pilgrims.
Later, in Nankana Sahib, a Palki procession was taken from Gurdwara Janamsthan.
Safety of religious sites
Prime Minister Imran Khan, congratulating the Sikh community, said that the interests of all minorities in the country will be safeguarded and their religious sites secured.
The prime minister promised the Sikh community in a video message that his government would protect their holy sites in Pakistan, including Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur, the two most revered.
Both areas are sacred to Sikhs, he said, just as Makkah and Madina are sacred to Muslims.
Mr. Khan said the government would extend to the Sikh community all necessary assistance and services, citing the example of the newly upgraded Hassanabdal railway station.
“Our government’s policy is to protect religious minorities, be they churches, temples or Buddhist monasteries, in Pakistan and its holy places,” said the prime minister.
With the arrival of over 600 pilgrims from India across the Wagah frontier, the three-day celebration of Baba Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary started on Saturday in Nankana Sahib.
At Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib, the main ceremony took place. The Nagar Kirtan procession was also included in the festivities, accompanied at night by the Bhog ceremony.
Last year on the occasion of the 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak’s birth, the Prime Minister opened the Kartarpur Corridor as a goodwill gesture to encourage Sikhs inside the country and across the frontier.