The Tribune – PSGPC approves Guru Nanak anniversary coins, stamps

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 16 May 2019. A Pakistan Sikh committee has approved the design for the commemorative coins and postage stamps which will mark Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in November, according to a media report.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) on Wednesday said during a meeting that one side of the coin will have the image of Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib, while the other side will have the words Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the number 550, The Express Tribune reported.

The postage stamps, which will be worth Rs 8 and could be used commonly, will also have the image of Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib and the number 550.

The PSGPC expressed their satisfaction over the preparations made by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB). For the Sikh pilgrims who will come to the country from across the world makeshift tents will be set up in Nankana Sahib and could accommodate 25,000 pilgrims, the report said.

The year 2019 marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose birthplace is Sri Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

Last November, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak in Pakistani town of Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about 4 km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

The corridor will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

Pakistan has committed to open the corridor in November this year on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

EPTB chairman Dr Amir Ahmed assured PSGPC officials that all arrangements will be completed in time for Guru Nanak Devji’s 550th birthday.

Sikh pilgrims from all over the world will be welcomed and provided accommodation and security, he said. He added that special trains will also be made operational for the pilgrims.

Dawn – PM Khan kicks off tree plantation drive at Nankana Sahib, vows to protect Pakistan’s forests

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 09 February 2019. Prime Minister Imran Khan, while launching a spring tree plantation campaign at Balloki, Nankana Sahib on Saturday, said that Pakistan’s forests would be protected at all costs.

The prime minister planted a sapling at Balloki, where he was also briefed about the tree plantation drive.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Khan said that forest land leased out in Punjab should be retrieved, noting that forest cover in Pakistan is already very low as compared to the rest of the countries in the region.

He pointed out that there used to be large forests in Chichawatni, Mianwali and Changa Manga, which have all but disappeared now.

Speaking about the alarming rate at which Pakistan’s forests have been depleted, he said that Pakistan’s forests should be protected at any cost.

“70 % of Pakistan’s forests have been cut down in the past few years, which has created an imbalance in our environment,” Prime Minister Khan said.

“We are now going to allow builders to build higher buildings just so our cities can stop expanding [horizontally] and encroaching on our forests,” he said, adding that the health of Pakistan’s elderly population, as well as of children, is continuously declining “since the air we breath is getting more and more contaminated.”

“Our children do not have parks to play in anymore; all of those places have been taken over by concrete and cement, this needs to stop,” the prime minister said while stressing the need for rehabilitation of forests.

While addressing the crowd, Prime Minister Khan announced that his government will also create a wildlife reserve under Baba Guru Nanak’s name and that Nankana Sahib will also become home to the Baba Guru Nanak university.

Doing NRO is tantamount to treason, says PM Khan

“These days, there has been a lot of discussion about NRO. What is NRO? It is about forgiving convicts, not just small convicts but the big ones,” the premier said, adding that the NRO has twice caused historical damage to the country.

Because of the two NROs, one favouring Nawaz Sharif and the other benefitting Zardari, “those in power felt that it was okay to steal and do as much corruption as you want”, Khan said.

Whoever thinks that the PTI government will give anyone an NRO, they should realise that doing any such deal will be tantamount to high treason, Imran Khan said.

“We will not leave and forget anyone who has looted the country,” he said. It is happening for the first time in a democratic setup that a “man comes from jail and becomes the chairman of parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman and then summons the accountability watchdog [which has arrested him]”.

“We have tried our best to let the parliament function in a peaceful manner, but no more compromises will be made with any other ‘corrupt’ person,” the prime minister said.

Imran clarified that the sitting government did not differentiate between its own minister and leaders of the other parties when it comes to accountability against corruption.

DNA India – Pakistan backing Khalistani sympathisers: India

DNA Correspondent

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 24 November 2018. India has raised an alarm over Khalistani sympathisers finding a voice in Pakistan during the visit of Sikh pilgrims to religious shrines on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday lodged a protest with Pakistan over the alleged harassment of Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad and the denial of access to Indian Sikh pilgrims visiting the shrines across the border.

The protest comes a day after the two countries agreed to develop a corridor on their respective side of the border to link a historic Sikh shrine in Kartarpur in Pakistan.

The MEA said there were reports of attempts made during the pilgrims’ ongoing visit to “promote secessionist tendencies” with an aim to undermine India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

There were reports that pro-Khalistani banners were shown to the Indian pilgrims.

“Pakistan has been called upon to take all measures to not allow its territory be used for any hostile propaganda and support for secessionist tendencies against India, keeping in mind the commitments made under the Shimla Agreement, 1972 and endorsed in the Lahore Declaration, 1999,” the MEA said in a statement.

Despite having been granted prior travel permission by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, the Consular officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad were harassed and denied access on November 21-22 at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda,” the MEA said in a statement.

The officials had no choice but to return to Islamabad without performing their diplomatic and consular duties vis-à-vis Indian pilgrims, it added.

New Delhi said this is the third consecutive visit of Indian Sikh pilgrims when Pakistan has prevented the Indian High Commission officials from meeting the Indian nationals on the pretext of security. – 549th Birthday Celebrations: Pakistan grants visa to 1227 Sikh devotees – 403 rejected

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 20 November 2018. The Pakistani High Commission has granted visa to 1227 Sikh devotees out of the total 1630 aspirant of celebrating the 549th birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Nankana Sahib while visa applications of 403 others have been rejected.

It is learnt that the Sikh Jatha will depart for Pakistan tomorrow.

Sharing the development with media, the SGPC’s chief secretary Dr. Roop Singh said that the Pakistani consulate has hurt the Sikh sentiments by rejecting the visas of Sikh devotees in large number.

He added that the Pakistan government should increase the visa quota for the Sikhs residing in India keeping in view the upcoming 550th birthday celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. “Sikh pilgrims can collect their passports from the SGPC’s headquarter at Amritsar Sahib on November 20” he informed.

Dr. Roop Singh further informed that the Sikh pilgrims will reach at Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib on November 21 and will pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Mandi Chuhadkana on November 22.

“After celebrating the 549th birthday at Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib on November 23, the Sikh pilgrims will have glimpses of various other historic Sikh shrines in Pakistan and will come back to India on November 30″ he added.

“SGPC members Amarjit Singh Bhalaipur and Bibi Swarn Kaur will head the Sikh pilgrims this year, while in-charge Karanjit Singh will manage the administrative affairs of the Sikh pilgrims” he said.

Dawn – Two Rescue 1122 workers suspended over alleged sexual assault of Sikh girl in Nankana Sahib

Bilal Ahmed

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 29 October 2018. Two Rescue 1122 workers have been suspended over their alleged involvement in the suspected sexual assault of a Sikh teenage girl at Nankana Sahib on October 27, a district emergency officer said on Monday.

The officer, Akram Panwaar, said that a high-level committee has also been created to investigate the incident and once the crime was proven, strong departmental action would be taken against the rescue officials.

According to the medico-legal examination report, no tears, bruises or laceration were found in the examination of the victims body. However, the girl will be taken to Lahore today for further tests.

The results of the tests will arrive in a minimum time frame of two months, said Investigative Officer Basharat Ali, adding that the suspects would be kept in custody on physical remand for further investigation.

According to the first information report (FIR) registered with the City Nankana Sahib police by the victim’s family, the 15-year-old girl, who was also mentally challenged, went missing on Sunday.

The family looked for her everywhere but found no trace.

At around 1:30 am, the family members of the girl found a Rescue 1122 ambulance parked by the roadside for long time which looked suspicious. When probed further, the found both the suspects committing the crime with their daughter.

The FIR added that when the victim’s family made noise, the suspects drove the ambulance away, threw the victim near a sugar mill on Nankana Road and escaped.

A spokesperson for the district police on Monday said that the suspects had been arrested after a case was registered against them in the City police station.

The spokesperson added that an investigation was being launched on the complaints of the Sikh community.

He added that all requirements to bring justice will be undertaken.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also took notice of the incident on Sunday, saying: “Abuse of vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated. Was forwarded a case of abuse of a differently-abled Sikh girl in Nankana Sahib. FIR has been registered and the SHO informed us they have arrested two persons in the case”. – Pakistani Sikhs Stage Protest against Killings of Afghan Sikh Leaders in Jalalabad

Sikh24 Editors

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 07 July 2018. In protest of the targeted killings of Afghan Sikh leaders in a suicide bomb attack in Jalalabad, the Pakistan resident Sikhs held a demonstration at Gurdwara Janam Asthan Sri Nankana Sahib under the leadership of the former PSGPC president S. Bishan Singh.

The peaceful demonstration was held following the culmination of a religious program organized for the spiritual peace of the departed Afghan Sikh leaders.

The Sikh protesters were carrying placards having slogans like “Deliver Justice to Afghan Sikh Leaders”, “Stop Target Killings”, “Stop Committing Atrocities on Afghan Sikhs”, “Deliver justice to the families of deceased Sikh Leaders” etc. The slogans were written on the placards in Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi script.

Interacting with media, the former PSGPC president S. Bishan Singh strongly criticized the suicide bomb attack carried out on Afghan Sikh leaders in Jalalabad.

He informed that S. Narinder Singh, son of deceased Sikh leader S. Avtar Singh Khalsa, has been appointed as new leader Sikh and Hindu minorities in Pakistan and the Sikh masses of Pakistan will support him in every possible way.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Sikh masses of Pakistan have laid Sri Akhand Path Sahib at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib (Hasan Abdal) and Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh (Peshawar) of Pakistan for the spiritual peace of departed Afghan Sikh leaders.

NewsBytes – Hafiz Saeed’s MML woes Pakistani Sikhs ahead of elections

Gogona Saikia

Nankana Sahib – Panjab – Pakistan, 01 May 2018. Hafiz Saeed, JuD chief and alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, is now wooing Pakistani Sikhs ahead of general elections.

To that effect, the Milli Muslim League (MML), JuD’s political front, held a convention at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

MML is reportedly fielding candidates in most constituencies, despite it still not being registered by the Election Commission.

The formation of the MML and its rise

Saeed’s JuD formed the MML last August to “get (their) message to the grassroots”.

Despite non-recognition, MML candidates Yaqoob Sheikh and Liaqat Khan contested by-elections in Lahore and Peshawar and diverted votes from the ruling PML-N.

Saeed has also disclosed his plans to contest the 2018 general elections.

Earlier this month, the US designated MML a ‘terrorist organization.’

PSGPC comes out in support of MML

Saeed and the MML now have the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) backing it.

So much so, that when his brother-in-law used objectionable language against Guru Nanak at a Multan rally a few days ago, the PSGPC didn’t even condemn it.

PSGPC General Secretary Gopal Singh Chawla is known to share close ties with Saeed since before; he has often posted their pictures together on social media.

MML leaders “spewed venom against India” at MML event

With Chawla’s help, the MML convention was held at Nankana Sahib Saturday, attended by Saeed and MML-president Saifullah Khalid.

The event was the ground for many anti-India comments.

“Sikhs are a brave nation but atrocities are being committed against it in India,” Saeed said.

TOI quoted sources as saying that Gopal, Saeed and Khalid also raked up Kashmir and Khalistan to attack India.

So does Saeed have the support of Pakistan’s Sikhs?

According to a Peshawar-based Sikh leader, only a handful of Sikhs support the MML, especially those living in the Nankana Sahib and Lahore regions. Apart from them, most Pakistani Sikhs are against the JuD and Saeed’s other terrorist outfit, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, he added. – 388th Birthday of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji celebrated in Pakistan

Sikh24 Editors

Nankana Sahib-Panjab-Pakistan, 5 February 2018. The 388th birth anniversary of seventh Sikh master Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji was celebrated on February 2 with full enthusiasm and devotion by the Pakistani Sikh sangat at Gurdwara Sri Mal Ji Sahib. This celebration was attended by large number of devotees from Sri Nankana Sahib and neighboring areas.

Following the culmination of Sri Akhand Path Sahib, religious program was organized on this eve in which several Raagi and Dhadi Jathas addressed the religious discourse.

With the support of Sikh sangat of Janam Asthan Sri Nankana Sahib, former Granthi Rawel Singh laid the foundation stone of Langar Hall building.

Gurdwara Mal ji sahib is in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan and near the local railway station but closer to this famous town associated with the founder of Sikhi, Guru Nanak. Mal (also called jal and van) is tree with a lot of shade.

It is said that once as Rai Bular was riding among the fields in this area, he saw young Guru Nanak Dev Ji sleeping in the shade of a mal tree. What struck Rai Bular was that the shade of the tree had not moved away from the sleeper as the movement and position of the sun warranted.

According to another version, the shade had moved away from the Guru but a large cobra had spread its huge hood over his face so that his sleep was not interrupted. This miracle and the incident related to Kiara Sahib convinced Rai Bular of the spiritual eminence of Guru Nanak Dev Ji whose devotee he became.