To take up the issue of maintenance of historic gurdwaras and to also press for the introduction of the Nanakshahi calendar by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), an eight-member delegation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) crossed over to Pakistan on Sunday. SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar is leading the team.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said, "We are going to Pakistan on an invitation from the Punjab government in Pakistan and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Key issues relayed to maintenance of historic gurdwaras and other religious matters related to Sikhism will be taken up during the visit."
He added: "The main issue to be discussed is the upkeep of gurdwaras there. The revival of 60% quota for Sikh jathas and a provision for multi-entry visa for granthis will also be discussed. We will also make efforts to ensure that the Nanakshahi calendar is implemented by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee."
Makkar added that since Sikhs were in the minority in Pakistan and various unfortunate incidents related to the community had occurred, he would demand that the safety and security of Sikhs and their families be accorded priority and is ensured at all times.
The establishment of visa centres in Amritsar and Lahore is also on the SGPC's agenda, so that the hassles in travel between the two nations are further reduced.
Main points on agenda
During the four-day visit, the delegation will visit Lahore city, the Panja Sahib Gurdwara and Nankana Sahib Gurdwara and raise the following issues with the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
*Upkeep of gurdwaras
*Revival of 60% quota for Sikh jathas
*Provision for multi-entry visa for granthis
*Implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar by the PSGPC
*Establishment of visa centres in Amritsar and Lahore