Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said that opening of Kartarpura border is a great peace initiave by Pakistan which has been lauded by whole the world. This govt is taking steps to facilitate Sikh pilgrims coming from India amd other parts of the world and this is an ample proof that Pakistan believes in religious freedom. He was addressing concluding ceremony of Gurunanak Birth Anniversary at Gurdwara Punja Sahib Hasanabdal. The ceremony was attended by large number of Sikh Community including three thousand Indians . He said, Pakistan believes in religious freedom and its ample proof is opening of Kartarpura border and said that it is history in the making and it would judge those who stood on the wrong side .
He said , all necessary arrangements will be made to facilitate Sikhs to visit Kartarpura using the corridor as soon as possible . The Minister said , govt has sanctioned Rs 400 million for Narowal Railway Station while Rs 250 million are being spent for the renovation of Hasanabdal Railway station. He said, sikh pilgrims coming from India are provided special trains having all facilities for visiting Gurdwara Punja Sahib and assured the sikhs that additional bogies will be attached with special trains to facilitate Sikh pilgrims .He said, opening of Kartarpura will act as a bridge between India and Pakistan. Opening of Kartarpura was a long standing desire of Sikh Community which is being materialised and by this act Pakistan has won the heart of million of Sikhs across the world. Sikh group leaders also spoke on the occassion and expressed their satisfaction over the arrangements made for them at Punja Sahib and other gurdwaras.
Latter while talkjng to newsmen On Sohan Singh, contingent leader from Bhai Mardana Sikh committee said that every religion of the world teaches love, tolerance and respect for humanity. He lauded the Pakistan government’s sincere efforts for ensuring religious freedom to minorities and safeguarding sacred places and Gurudawaras of the Sikh community in Pakistan. He also thanked Pakistanis for rendering splendid hospitality to the visiting Sikh Yatrees who came from across the world. However, leader of female contingent from India, Manmohan Kaur expressed her displeasure over mismanagement by railways department which has left over 113 Indian pilgrims at Nankana Shib. She said that despite prior information, additional coaches were not attached with trains and in result mostly over 50 years of age pilgrims were left abandoned at Nankana Shib railway station and when they protested they were sent by buses after waiting for many hours in chilly weather.
She said that visa-free entry of the Sikh pilgrims to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, after opening the Pak-India Border, would be a great facility for the Sikh pilgrims as well. On the occassion under the supervision of DPO Attock Hasan Asad Alvi, police had made elaborate security arrangements to provide fool proof security to the Sikh pilgrims and for the purpose 6 DSPs, 17 inspectors , 68 head constables , 737 constables , 144 upper subordinates , 35 lady constables , elite force personnel and other 132 officers of different departments were deputed to perform their duties . Punjab Evacuee Trust Property Board , provided accommodation, meals , Medical and other facilites to thousand of Sikh pilgrims