Sikh pligrims gather in Pakistan for Vaisakhi festival

LAHORE: Pilgrims descended from all over the world on a small town Panja Sahib Gurdwara in Hasan Abdal, 55 kilometres (35 miles) from Islamabad that is home to one of Sikhism’s holiest sites this week, dipping into holy spring water and solemnly offering prayers.

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They have come from India, Britain and the Middle East to Pakistan where Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, is said to have imprinted his hand.

The 500-year-old religion was founded in what is now part of Pakistan, a Muslim-majority country of nearly 200 million people. Most Sikhs left Pakistan for India after both countries gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Around 20,000 Sikhs remain in Pakistan today. There, they have set up businesses and often work as traders, their men instantly recognisable by the distinctive untrimmed beards and high turbans that distinguish them from their Muslim counterparts.

They have earned a reputation for uprightness and have many loyal customers who praise their honesty. -AFP


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Sikh pligrims gather in Pakistan for Vaisakhi festival

by Zohaib Kazmi