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November 19, 2010

1200 Indian Sikh pilgrims to celebrate Guru Nanak birth anniversary in Pak

Amritsar: About 1200 Indian Sikh pilgrims have left for Pakistan to attend the 541st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first spiritual leader of the Sikh Community, at Nankana Sahib in Sheikhupura District, even as the Pakistan Government denied visas to 250 Sikh pilgrims. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) has sent this jatha under the leadership of Sawinder Singh Dogalia. After attending the main function at Nankana Sahib, the pilgrims will visit other Sikh shrines, including Punja Sahib, Sacha Sauda Sahib, Raori Sahib and Dera Sahib in and around Lahore . Sham Singh, president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC), said that the PSGPC had invited pilgrims from around the world to celebrate Guru Nanak's birth anniversary. This not the first time that Islamabad has denied visas to Indian Sikhs. Last month, 150 Sikh pilgrims who wanted to go Lahore on October 7 to celebrate the birth anniversary of the fourth Sikh Guru, Ram Dass, were denied visas. Dalmagh Singh, secretary of the SGPC, said the matter would be taken up with the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi . Dr. Pritpal Singh, convener of the American Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (AGPC), also said he would raise the matter with the authorities in Pakistan . Around 10,000 Sikh devotees are expected to attend the anniversary celebrations.

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