Coronavirus: Baisakhi celebrations cancelled at Gurdwara Punja Sahib

Taxila: Baisakhi celebrations have been cancelled at Gurdwara Punja Sahib amid coronavirus fears.

The Baisakhi celebrations were scheduled to begin on April 14 at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassan Abdal, around 5,000 Sikhs from around the world were expected to attend the event.

Imran Gondal – Deputy Secretary Shrines Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), announced that the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbadhank Committee (PSGPC) has agreed to postpone the scheduled Baisakhi celebrations at the revered Gurdwara to ensure public safety in wake of coronavirus outbteak.

“We have monitored the situation closely in recent days and worked with government departments including the PSGPCand other stakeholders. We are committed to following the guidelines set by the federal government to ensure a safe environment for our Sikh pilgrim guests and we would not risk their health amid the global coronavirus outbreak,” said Mr Gondal.

Baisakhi is celebrated to mark the beginning of a new harvest season. As per the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines – 1974, every year a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan, to take part in religious festivals and visit Sikh holy sites.

Earlier in November 2019, Pakistani officials announced the decision to issue visas to 3,000 Sikh pilgrims for the Baisakhi celebrations. Last year around 15,000 Sikh pilgrims were granted visas to visit their holy sites in Pakistan.