Sikh pilgrims: seeking tax-free entry for ‘Golden Palki’ in Pakistan

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ISLAMBAD: A religious procession (Nagar Kirtan) of Indian Sikh devotees has wished Pakistan to exempt their “Golden Palki”, which is being carried in a specially decorated bus, from all taxes and customs duties.

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A specially crafted gold-plated palanquin, known as Golden Palki, was departed from New Delhi on Friday is to be placed at Gurdwara Karartpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district, the birthplace of founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev.

The procession is led by Sardar Paramjit Singh, president of the former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which includes representatives from different sections of the Sikh community in India.

Read More: Kartarpur corridor opening for India’s Sikhs in November

It welcomed by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar the Nagar Kirtan carrying gold-plated ‘Palki Sahib’ and Sikh yatrees at the Wagha border on Thursday.

To celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of their religious founder Baba Nanak, thousands of Sikh pilgrims are travelling to Nankana Sahib.

ETPB (The Evacuee Trust Property Board) has written a letter to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) requesting to waive off the tax on the bus and Golden Palki and allow them a tax-free entry.

As per a copy of the letter, available with The Express Tribunethe ETPB stated that the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGC) is an officially approved body by the government of Pakistan and had been assisting Evacuee Trust Board in looking after the holy sites of the Sikh community across the country.

The letter also added that the same committee had also issued a non-objection certificate (NOC) to Indian Sikh Leader Sardar Paramjit to take out the Nagar Kirtan on October 31st to November 7th — 2019 in Pakistan.

FBR officials had told The Express Tribune that the application was under review and the permission will be granted soon as per the law.

The PSGC, with the support of the Pakistan government, has prepared a detailed programme, spanning over a week, for the visiting devotees to perform different religious rituals at Sikh temples across the country, particularly Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib.

Indian Sikh Leader Sardar Paramjit Singh Sarana want to take the Golden Palki for Baba Guru Nanak, hence the FBR has been requested to waive off all kind of taxes and duties on Golden Palki and bus as they will be used only for non-profit purposes,” read the letter.

In accordance with the historic initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan to open the Kartarpur Corridor, set to be inaugurated on November 9, Pakistan has facilitated visits of a number of Sikh jathas, not only from India but across the globe.