Birmingham Sikhs convey personal message of gratitude and thanks to Honourable Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan

With the Almighty Waheguru Ji’s blessing having enabled group of 650 members of the congregation of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) to travel together to Pakistan, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh OBE KSG personally met with Prime Minister Khan to convey sincere heartfelt thanks. The yatree (pilgrims), of all ages from across the globe, travelled together for the sacred trip to Pakistan and India to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

A delegation led by Bhai Sahib Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia OBE KSG, Chairman Nishkam Group of Charitable Organizations, met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari. Both of whom must be applauded for his support and assistance proffered to the Sikh community during this the 550th Birth anniversary year of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.  Thanks must go to the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), and the Interior Minister for facilitating the possibility of such a large group to visit Pakistan. When you think of the logistics of a convoy of 16 coaches and two mini-buses being escorted from Gurudwara to Gurudwara and then returning to the hotel every evening, the magnitude of the task becomes aparent.

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for the landmark decision of the Government of Pakistan to work with the India Government to open the Kartarpur Corridor and facilitate the Sikh community across the world in visiting their holy places. The opening of Corridor has made a 70-year-old dream of Sikhs globally come true to offer prayers by visiting the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib instead of getting a glimpse through binoculars from across the border.

During the conversation the possibility of further sewa for Sikh diaspora by way of infrastructure development projects, especially beautification of the sacred shrine, building rest houses in Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Corridor were also discussed. Prime Minister, Imran Khan welcomed the interest from the delegation. It is said the Kartarpur corridor would prove to be a milestone in promoting brotherhood and peace amongst Sikh community and the local nationals.

The fourteen-day pilgrimage of 650 individuals, of which seven days were spent in Pakistan and seven days in India, was planned, coordinated and meticulously carried out, respecting  and honouring the host nations whilst ensuring a message of unity and peace, as proclaimed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji was demonstrated throughout. For many the event started several months earlier as it required numerous visits to Pakistan to organise travel logistics, accommodation, step-by-step itineraries, seeking appropriate authorisations and paperwork, meeting high ranking officials and local Sikhs. In the UK, with out the support of the appropriate Consular services, India and Pakistan, the trip could not have been organised so smoothly.  A special vote of thanks must go to the Pakistan Consul General, Ismail Ahmar, his team in Birmingham and Mr Ibrar and the whole team at Gerry’s for the unrelenting support proffered to the securing of Visas for the whole group.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, seen by many as a spiritual guide, social reformer and educationist – was born in 1469. His transformational attitude and messages were evident from a very early age. Traveling extensively he quietly went about his life’s mission of teaching and guiding people to be better human beings and to remember the creator at all times. The shabad (hymn) which came to many minds during the trip was:

Awal Allah noor upaya

Kudrat ke sab bandey

Ek noor te sab jag upjaya

Kaun bhale ko mande

‘First of all, God created light;

Mother Nature created all human beings equal;

from that one Light the entire world came into being;

so how do we differentiate that one is better that the other?’

During this auspicious period, HRH Prince Charles also visited India for the celebrations.  He was bestowed a ‘Siropa’, a robe of honour, and was given a warm welcome by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC). He paid obeisance at the Gurudwara and interacted with the Sikhs at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi.

The visit by the 650 strong group was a clear message from all that we are part of a much bigger community, we are all united regardless of faith, race, colour, gender whatever it may be is all secondary. The first thing is we are all human beings and this whole planet is a blessed sacred space that has been entrusted to us.  The messages from the Pakistan / Indian hosts and all those on the visit clearly enunciated the need for unity, peace, forgiveness, compassion and humility. The need for faith solidarity and the need for a better appreciation and acceptance has never been greater.

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