– UN chief pays obeisance, partakes langar at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib

Sikh24 Editors

Lahore – Panjab – India, 18 February 2020. Mr Antonio Guterres, the chief of United Nations, today paid obeisance at the historic Sikh Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib, where Guru Nanak Sahib spent almost the last two decades of his life.

He also partook langar after traversing various parts of Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib complex during the afternoon hours.

Highly hailing Pakistan government for opening the Kartarpur corridor, Antonio Guterres said that the Kartarpur Corridor is a practical example of Pakistan’s desire for peace and inter-faith harmony.

Interacting with the media, he said the opening of the corridor is a good step and it will promote tolerance and interfaith harmony. He also appreciated the facilities being provided to Sikh pilgrims at the complex.

He was honored by the PSGPC officials and other Sikh representatives of Pakistan as per Sikh traditions.

UN chief pays obeisance, partakes langar at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib – UN chief António Guterres to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib next week

Sikh24 Editors

12 February 2020. Lahore – Panjab – India, Latest media updates reveal that the United Nation’s chief António Guterres will visit Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib during his visit to Pakistan next week. It is learnt that Mr António Guterres will arrive in Pakistan’s national capital Islamabad on 16 February and will probably visit Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib on February 18.

Sharing the development with media, Pakistan’s Deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq informed that António Guterres will address an event on sustainable development and climate change Islamabad on February 16 besides attending bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

It may be recalled here that António Guterres had welcomed the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan, saying it paved the way for interfaith harmony and understanding.

“We welcome #Pakistan and #India opening #KartarpurCorridor today connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites, paving way for interfaith harmony and understanding by facilitating visa-free cross border visits by pilgrims to holy shrines,” spokesperson for the Secretary-General had tweeted.

UN chief António Guterres to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib next week

Dawn – PTI Lahore leader apologises over posters offensive to Hindus

Rana Bilal

Lahore – Panjab – India, 06 February 2020. A Lahore-based leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has issued an apology after he came under fire on social media for putting up banners that contained text deemed offensive to Hindus.

The banners featuring the image of Mian Akram Usman, the PTI Lahore general secretary, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah were put were up in connection with Kashmir Solidarity Day, which was observed across the country on 05 February.

The poster was accompanied by the text “Hindu baat ne nahi, laat se maanta hai” (Hindus cannot be reasoned with using words but by force). After coming under criticism on social media, Usman took to Twitter to apologise to “all peacefully living ‘Hindus’ [on] both sides of the border”.

When approached for a comment, Usman told Dawn News TV that he had asked his printer to prepare posters in connection with Kashmir day which should have text critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The printer “misunderstood” and replaced the word “Modi” with “Hindu” on the banners, the PTI office-bearer claimed. is trying to reach the concerned printing service for comment.

Later, while responding to a Twitter user, Usman said the posters had been removed “immediately” after they came to his notice. “I’m not the one who [gets] stuck on mistakes,” he wrote.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari in a tweet on Thursday said the PTI general secretary had been “reprimanded and posters were taken off immediately”.

She termed it “a shameful and ignorant approach by the individual”.

The Telegraph – Sikh separatists feature in Pakistan’s video on Kartarpur

The video featured Damdami Taksal chief Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his military adviser Shabeg Singh, who were kiled in Operation Blue Star

Lahore – Panjab – India, 06 November 2019. Three Sikh separatist leaders, including Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his military adviser Shabeg Singh, who were killed during the Operation Blue Star in 1984 have featured in an official video released by the Pakistan government on the Kartarpur corridor, triggering a controversy.

The video was released on Monday just days ahead of the inauguration ceremony of the much-awaited corridor, which will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan, just 4 kilometres from the International Border.

The video also showed a poster by a banned pro-Khalistani group, Sikhs for Justice, which is pushing for Sikh Referendum 2020 as part of its separatist agenda.

Bhindranwale was the head of Sikh religious sect Damdami Taksal. He was killed by the security forces in the Operation Blue Star in 1984. He is alleged to be the mascot of the Khalistan movement in which thousands of people were killed.

Shabeg Singh, a general in the Indian army, joined the Khalistani movement in 1984 after he was stripped of his rank and court-martialled on charges of corruption just before his retirement. Singh, believed to be Bhindranwale’s military adviser, was also killed in the operation.

During the Kartarpur corridor talks, India had conveyed its strong concerns to Pakistan over the presence of a leading Khalistani separatist in a committee appointed by Islamabad on the project.

Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations signed a landmark agreement last week to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.

The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine everyday and that additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion of facilities by the Pakistani side.

India and Pakistan have also decided that the corridor will be operational through the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims, except kids and elderly persons, will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.

The Tribune – FIR against Muslim man quashed in Pakistan Sikh girl case

Lahore – Panjab – India, 11 September 2019. Police in Pakistan’s Punjab province have quashed the FIR against a Muslim man and others for allegedly abducting a Sikh teenage girl and converting her to Islam after both families signed a written agreement, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Jagjit Kaur, the 19-year-old daughter of a Sikh granthi of Nankana Sahib, was allegedly abducted by Mohammad Hasaan of her locality in Nankana Sahib, some 80 kms from Lahore in August. He allegedly married her later.

“The families of Kaur and Hassan have signed a written document agreeing to resolve the matter between them. Kaur’s family has withdrawn all charges against Hassan and his family members and friends, thereby, the FIR against them stands quashed,” a senior police officer of Punjab police told PTI on Wednesday.

He said Hassan and a couple of his other family members have also withdrawn their protective bails in the wake of the agreement.

A video of the girl’s family had gone viral on social media in which one of her family members had alleged that a group of men attacked their house and she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam and was married Hassan, triggering concerns in Pakistan as well as in India.

On 29 August, the FIR was filed against six people for allegedly abducting and forcibly converting Kaur to Islam. The police arrested Arsalan, a friend of Hassan.

Kaur has been to sent to Lahore’s Darul Aman (shelter home) on a court order after she told the judge that she married Hassan of her locality with her own free will.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Chaudhry Sarwar were forced to intervene in the matter after the Sikh community reacted angrily over the alleged abduction of the girl from the community.

“In the agreement it has been decided that Hassan will not force Kaur to stay with him and will divorce her if she asks for it. Kaur’s family has also pledged that it will not harm the girl by any means on her return to the home,” the official said.

The girl is still in shelter home in Lahore as she is not “mentally prepared” at the moment to return to her parents’ home in Nankana Sahib, the police official claimed.

“It has also been agreed that Kaur will not see Hassan or vice a versa even he doesn’t divorce her,” the official said.

India had voiced its concern with Pakistan over the issue of her abduction and forced conversion to Islam and sought for “immediate remedial action”.

Ahead of opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Pakistani government cannot afford annoyance of local Sikhs which created tension among the Sikhs and Muslims in Nankana Sahib, the official said.

Poor Jagjit Kaur, victim of Panjabi culture
Man in Blue

The News – India flayed for stopping Sikh pilgrims from entering Pakistan

Our Correspondent

Lahore – Panjab – India, 17 June 2019. Stopping the Sikh pilgrims from coming to Pakistan is a shameful act on India’s part and it is continuously violating the human rights, which is exposing its real horrific face to the world.

This was said by Ejaz Alam, Punjab Minister for Minorities Affairs, while addressing a ceremony on martyrdom day of the 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev Ji, here on Sunday.

The minister maintained that despite Indian anti-human attitude, Prime Minister Imran Khan is giving a message of peace and brotherhood to India so that there shall be prosperity in the region and the people of both the countries could live in peace and harmony.

On the occasion Chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board said serving the minorities is ‘our religious and constitutional duty.’

Speaking at the ceremony, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Purbandhak Committee’s head Sardar Tara Singh said that the government of Pakistan is taking best possible social welfare steps for the Sikh Community and Kartarpur Corridor is a glaring example for that fact. He added that the Sikh community is highly obliged to the Prime Minister Imran Khan for this historic step.

The Tribune – Pakistan allocates 70 acres for Guru Nanak international varsity

Lahore – Panjab – India, 02 May 2019. Pakistan’s Punjab province government has allocated 70 acres for setting up an international university named after Guru Nanak at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the first Sikh Guru.

The funds for the construction of Baba Guru Nanak International University at Nankana Sahib, about some 80 km from Lahore, will be allocated in the 2019-20 budget, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in a statement here on Thursday.

The CM said the project would be a part of the coming development budget in the province. He said the government would also establish a Police Lines, a prison and National Registration Database Authority (Nadra) at Nankana Sahib.

There has been a demand from the Sikhs living in Pakistan to construct a university named after the founder of their religion at his birthplace in Nankana Sahib.

The proposal for the university first surfaced during the Punjab government of Pervaiz Elahi in 2003. Two years ago under the Pakistan Muslim League (N) government, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) gave the final approval to the project.

Then ETPB chairman Siddiqul Farooq said this university would help promote religious tourism in Pakistan and also portray the country’s good image at the international level.

Earlier this year, for the first time, a Pakistani university had created the Baba Guru Nanak research chair to promote the message of peace preached by the Sikh spiritual leader.

Pakistan Today – Pakistan to host Baisakhi Mela despite tensions with India

Authorities told to expedite issuance of visas to 3,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims; schedule approved

Shahab Omer

Lahore – Panjab – India, 25 February 2019. Despite ongoing tensions with India after Pulwama incident, Pakistan has approved the schedule of the “Baisakhi Mela” apart from ordering the issuance of visas to 3,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims.

Pakistan Today has learnt that Prime Minister Imran Khan has given the directions to Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) that despite the political and border tensions between Pakistan and India, the arrangements for the Baisakhi Mela should be up to the mark and pilgrims be welcomed with hospitality.

The Board has started the groundwork for free food distribution, accommodation, medical and travel facilities for the Sikh pilgrims, sources disclosed.

Talking to Pakistan Today, ETPB Secretary Tariq Wazir Khan said, “Baisakhi Mela is a religious festival in Sikhism. To participate in the festival, the Indian Sikh pilgrims will reach Pakistan on April 12 through special trains on Wagah railway station where the high-ups of ETPB and government will welcome them.”

“They will be driven to Gurdwara Panja Sahib at Hassan Abdal during the same day.

The main ceremony of Bhog Akhand Paath (Akhand Path is the common practice of continuous recitation without any break of sacred religious texts in Sikhism) will be held in Gurdwara Panja Sahib on April 14 and the Sikh pilgrims who will come from all around the world will also celebrate the ‘Khalsa Janam Din’ here,” he added.

Wazir further said that the Sikh pilgrims will leave for Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, on April 15. “They will also visit the Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Farooqabad, on April 17,” he said.

“On April 18, they will visit the Gurdwara Dehra Sahib Sri Guru Arjan Dev, Lahore, and on April 19, the pilgrims will visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur and Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Aimenabad.”

According to the schedule, the Indian pilgrims will visit Lahore on April 20, and return to India on 21 April.