Indo-Pak tension: Indian festival goers reach Lahore to celebrate Baisakhi
Lahore, April 13: Once again as India and Pakistan are witnessing a new low in their diplomatic ties, the people to people connect still remains intact. On Wednesday, a group of people from India reached Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi festival.
More than 1,400 people belonging to the Sikh community arrived in Lahore from India to participate in the Baisakhi festival at Gurudwara Hasan Abdal in Rawalpindi district of Pakistan's Punjab province.
A bitter diplomatic war has started between India and Pakistan after the latter awarded death penalty to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of espionage by a military court in Pakistan. India has vehemently denied Pakistan's charges and has demanded immediate release of Jadhav.
However, there was no sign of any tension when these festival goers reached Lahore. The Sikhs, who arrived on three special trains, were greeted by the officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandik Committee at the Wagah railway station amidst tight security.
"Some 1,430 Sikh Yatrees arrived in Lahore on Thursday via Wagah Border on three special trains. After immigration and serving them food they left for Gurdwara Punja Sahib Hasan Abdal," ETPB deputy director (shrines) Fraz Abbas told PTI.
"We were expecting more than 2,000 yatrees to arrive from India for the festival. However, only six yatrees travelled by the third train," he said. However, he was not aware of the reason as to why less number of devotees reached for the festival.
Abbas said special measures have been taken to provide security to the visiting Sikh pilgrims. "The Rangers and Elite Force besides police personnel have been engaged to provide security to the Sikhs," Abbas said.
In the wake of recent terror attacks in Lahore the government has taken 'extra-ordinary' security measures for the visiting Sikhs. The main event will be held on April 14.
The Sikhs would also visit Gurdwara Janamesthan Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Soda in Farooqabad, Gurdwara Kartarpur Narowal and Gurdwara Dera Sahib Lahore.
A seminar titled Besakhi will be held in Lahore on April 20 where Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana will be the chief guest. They will return to India on April 21.