Hundreds of Sikh pilgrims arrive in Pakistan from India despite virus fears

Indian Sikh pilgrims wave from a bus in Amritsar before departing to Pakistan to celebrate the 551th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, on November 27, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 28 November 2020

Hundreds of Sikh pilgrims arrive in Pakistan from India despite virus fears

  • Pilgrims arrived in Lahore on Friday through the Wagah border crossing and were required to carry COVID-19 negative test reports
  • Every year, more than 2,000 Sikhs come to Pakistan to participate in Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations

ISLAMABAD: Over 600 Sikh pilgrims from India have arrived in Pakistan to take part in three-day celebrations of the 551st birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, which started on Saturday, local media reported.

The main ceremony of the three-day celebration will be held on Monday at Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak. The pilgrims arrived in Lahore on Friday through the Wagah border crossing. They were required to carry COVID-19 negative test reports which were checked by Punjab health authorities.

“Today, a total 602 Indian Sikhs arrived here via Wagah border to participate in the 551st birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib,” Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) spokesman Asif Hashmi told the media.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) is a Pakistani government-run body that administers properties, including religious trusts, left behind by Hindus and Sikhs who migrated to India in 1947 when the two countries gained independence from Britain.

Every year, more than 2,000 Sikhs come to Pakistan to participate in Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations. The number is lower this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Much of Sikh heritage is located in Pakistan, including Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, which is also of particular importance to the Sikh community as it was built in tribute to Guru Nanak, who established the town of Kartarpur in 1515. It is also his final resting place.

In November last year, Pakistan opened a visa-free passage, the Kartarpur corridor, connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to the border with India and allowing Indian Sikhs to visit the site.

The opening of the corridor on Nov. 9, 2019 marked the first time Indian Sikh pilgrims could enter Pakistan without a visa since 1947.

The corridor was temporarily closed by Pakistan in March over restrictions to slow the coronavirus outbreak, but Islamabad reopened it in October. It remains closed, however, from the Indian side.


Pakistan ready to tap into Kuwait's skilled labor market — envoy

Updated 15 January 2021

Pakistan ready to tap into Kuwait's skilled labor market — envoy

  • Pakistan committed to provide skilled labor to Kuwait in line with its Vision 2035 to diversify economy and strengthen relations with Asia
  • Pakistanis make up one of the largest groups of foreigners living and working in Kuwait

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is ready to provide skilled workers to Kuwait's labor market, the Pakistani ambassador to the Gulf country said on Thursday, after a meeting with a top official of the Kuwaiti Public Authority for Manpower.
Ambassador Syed Sajjad Haider and Pakistan’s deputy head of mission, Tahreem Ilyas, met with Public Authority for Manpower director general Ahmad Al-Mousa to discuss issues related to Pakistani workers in Kuwait.
"Pakistan is ready to provide experienced and skilled manpower according to the demands of the Kuwaiti labor market," Ambassador Haider said, as quoted in a report by Kuwait Times, which was shared by the Pakistani embassy on social media.

He also expressed hope that the number of Pakistani workers in Kuwait would increase in the future.
In October, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis, Zulfikar Bukhari, said that Pakistan was committed to the development of Kuwait and would provide skilled workforce in multiple sectors aligned with Kuwait’s Vision 2035 to diversify the economy away from oil and strengthen relations with Asia.
Pakistanis make up one of the largest groups of foreigners living and working in Kuwait.