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In Pakistan Arrangements in place for Sikh pilgrims during Baisakhi

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In Pakistan Arrangements in place for Sikh pilgrims during Baisakhi
TAXILA: The district administration on Wednesday finalised security arrangements for the upcoming Baisakhi festival at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal. The administration also reviewed security arrangements for Sikh pilgrims coming from across the globe especially India. Every year, thousands of Sikhs, especially from India and parts of Pakistan, gather to attend their religious festival, where they perform rites such as Akhand, Paath Sahib, Bhog, Ardas and Hukamnama. Baisakhi is an ancient harvest festival which marks the beginning of a new solar year and harvest season.

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Talking to journalists, Deputy Commissioner Rao Atif Raza said: “We have finalised plans for security, food and accommodation at the gurdwara for the pilgrims.” District Police Officer (DPO) Ghayas Gul Khan said a foolproof security plan has been put in place for Sikh pilgrims, adding that police finalised the plan for security of the pilgrims in various places.
Around 1,000 police officers and personnel, including six SDPOs, 17 inspectors, 103 upper superintendents, 94 head constables, 667 constables and 36 lady constables will be deployed to monitor the security. He said that apart from this, 50 security cameras, 12 walk-through gates and 40 metal detectors would be installed as well.
He said that besides this regular force, 26 sections of elite commandos will be on constant alert and patrol for the protection of Sikh pilgrims while shops close to the gurdwara would remain closed and Rescue 1122 officials would be present on high alert. “Under the plan, Sikhs pilgrims would not be allowed to leave the temple during their three-day stay from April 11 to 13, and accommodation would be provided within the premises,” he added.
Saif Ul Islam Khokar, deputy secretary, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) said that more than 3,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims are expected to reach Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi.
Responding to a question, he said that last year alone, over 2,100 pilgrims from India participated in the festival. Mr Khokar said that a large number of pilgrims from other countries including the United Kingdom, France, United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were expected to arrive here to offer religious rituals.
He said that the board and the Pakistan Gurdwara Committee will renovate and illuminate religious places in the city in connection with the annual festival. The official said that Baisakhi celebrations will kick off on April 12. “They will perform their final rituals on April 14. After visiting Punja Sahib, they will visit Nankana Sahib and other places, and then return to Lahore,” he said.

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