Amritsar, June 8, : Nearly one thousand Sikh pilgrims left for Pakistan today to mark the 402nd martyrdom anniversary of fifth guru of Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev, at Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore.
The jatha (Sikh delegation) will stay in Pakistan for 10 days and visit historical Sikh shrines like Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthplace in Sri Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda in Farooqabad, Gurdwara Rohri Sahib in Aimanabad and other places.
Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, compiled all the writings of past gurus into Guru Granth Sahib. However in 1606, Guru Arjun Dev was tortured to death on the orders of Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
Talking to ANI, a resident of Amritsar Kode shah said, "I am visiting Pakistan first time after the division of India and Pakistan."
He said that if the Pakistan Government allows them, they would also visit to their native places, which are situated near Lahore. He urged both the governments that they should either abolish the visa system or reform it so that people from both countries could meet each other without much exercise.
Other devotees from Bhopal Narinder Singh Khalsa said that it is only because of the permission of the government that they were allowed to visit their religious and historical places situated in Pakistan.
They said that there should not be visa system between the two countries as far as pilgrims are concerned.
There are more than 172 Sikh shrines in Pakistan, but the Pakistan government grants visas to visit only six shrines.
In 1999, Pakistan Government also constituted a Pakistan Sikh committee to manage the arrangements of the Sikh shrines situated in Pakistan.
Over 5000 Sikh devotees are expected to gather at Pakistan from all over the world on the occasion.