Special train for 800 Hindu and Sikh pilgrims seen off to Nanakana Sahib

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KARACHI: The fawn carpet with red design led one to the special Sikh Yatri Train headed to Nankana Sahib for Nagar Kirtan, a three-day pilgrimage on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, from the City Railway Station here on Thursday morning.

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Among the blue turbaned members of the Sikh community loading their luggage on the train one could also spot several people with their heads covered with handkerchiefs or bandanas, which didn’t seem to look like they belonged to the Sikh community.

“That is because, we belong to the Hindu community,” one of them said with a smile. “Most Hindus from Sindh also follow Guru Nanak,” Vinesh Kumar, who said that, he, hailed from Thana Bula Khan, added.

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The fresh smell, inside reminded one of the smells of a brand new car. And the cheerful faces of the passengers preparing for the journey added to the ambiance.

The train carrying some 800 pilgrims, including several Hindus, was really worth seeing from inside with its new green velvet covered seats and berths.

Patron in chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council Sardar Ramesh Singh Khalsa said that “Baba Guru Nanak’s birthday was a blissful and jubilant occasion for their community, one which they look forward to all year.

“I am grateful to Prime Minister Imran Khan, General Qamar Javed Bajwa Chief of the Army Staff, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri, the Pakistan Railways and, of course, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Railways Karachi Divisional Superintendent Syed Mazhar Ali Shah for their help in making the pilgrimage possible and for providing them security,” he said.

A few minutes before the train’s departure to see off the pilgrims, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail also arrived. “We have unlocked our borders for the Sikh pilgrims coming here from all over the world. We welcome them and are glad to ease them in performing their religious responsibilities.

Our government has opened its heart for them as we Muslims believe in equal treatment for people of all faiths,” he said.

“Our neighbor India that has a predominant Hindu and Sikh population should learn how to treat people of different faiths from Pakistan. It is now 60 days of lock-down in India-occupied Kashmir as the depression of the people there is ongoing,” he said.

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