The Pakistan High Commission on Wednesday said it has issued over 1,100 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations from April 12 to 22.
Under the framework of the Pakistan-India protocol on visits to religious shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals every year, the high commission said.
It said the visas have been issued as a “special gesture” by the Pakistan government in view of the importance of Baisakhi for Punjabis and Sikhs marking the start of their new year.
“The Pakistan High Commission extends special felicitations to all those celebrating this auspicious occasion and wishes the visiting pilgrims a fulfilling yatra,” the high commission said in a statement.
“The issuance of pilgrimage visas is a part of the Government of Pakistan’s efforts for facilitating visits to religious shrines,” it said.
The issuance of visas came amid some signs of eagerness by both countries to move forward in their ties.
In February, the Indian and Pakistani armies recommitted themselves to the 2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control. The return to the ceasefire was agreed upon by the director-generals of military operations of the two countries.
Late last month, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said the LoC has been silent for the first time in around five to six years as not a single shot was fired on it in March barring an odd incident.