Pilgrims enter Pakistan city

Thousands of Sikhs from India are due to arrive in the Pakistani city of Lahore to mark the 400th anniversary of the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Guru Ji was martyred at the order of Jehangir after a campaign by enemies hostile to the emergence of the Sikh faith. Guru Arjan Dev Ji spread the message of Peace and compiled the Adi Granth which was the basis for what we now know as Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj Ji. He, Himself the King of Kings revered Gurbani as the source of the Lord's Name and spiritual wealth. He sat peacefully whilst enduring the most painful torture.

Last year, nearly 2,000 Sikhs crossed over on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. It was the first time since partition in 1947 that such a procession of Sikhs was granted entry by Pakistan.

This is the first time the Pakistani government is allowing large-scale movement of Sikhs from India to pay tribute to the King of Kings Guru Arjan Dev Ji.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had given instructions to issue visas to as many as 5,000 visitors from India for the anniversary celebrations, according to Pakistani organisers but Sikh leaders argued in reality nowhere near enough visas were granted.

The three-day activities to mark the 400th martyrdom day of fifth Sikh Guru Arjun Dev Ji started yesterday at Gurdwara Dera Sahib with the reading of Gurbani from the Guru Granth Sahib as the main procession of the Sikh devotees comprising over 3,000 pilgrims from India arrived at the Wagha railway station in Lahore by a special train.