Nearly 300 Sikh pilgrims are expected to arrive in Pakistan from India through the Wagha Border. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Nearly 300 Sikh pilgrims are expected to arrive in Pakistan from India via the Wagah border to celebrate the 551st birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak - the founder of Sikhism.

This will be the first group of Sikh travellers to visit Pakistan from the neighbouring country since the coronavirus travel restrictions were imposed earlier this year.

Pakistan’s Additional Secretary Shrines Tariq Wazir will be receiving the members of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and others. Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Dr Amer Ahmad confirmed that all arrangements, including accommodation and transportation facilities, have been completed for the visiting Sikh pilgrims.

December return

The main ceremony will be held at Janumasthan Nankana Sahib on November 30 in which political, religious and minority leaders will participate. The pilgrims will return back to India on December 1.

Nearly 2,500 Indian Sikh pilgrims visit Pakistan every year from India. This year, the Pakistan embassy issued only 900 visas due to the pandemic situation, according to reports.

Meanwhile, more than 200 Pakistani nationals returned from India, according to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. “As part of the High Commission’s ongoing efforts to assist Pakistan nationals in India, including those stranded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200 Pakistanis were repatriated via Attari-Wagah border,” a statement said. Since March 2020, more than 1100 Pakistani nationals have returned from India. The returnees also included those Pakistani Hindus who went to India in search of better job opportunities.