PAKISTAN TO GIVE FREE EDUCATION TO SIKH
PAKISTAN TO GIVE FREE EDUCATION TO SIKH CHILDREN
Attari September 27:
Sikh children in Pakistan would be imparted free education by the Pakistan Government, says Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Javed Mallik. He made this announcement at a reception held for the 200-strong Sikh jatha which visited Pakistan for ten days.
This was disclosed by Amrik Singh, leader of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) jatha which returned aboard the Samjhauta Express here on Thursday. It is for the first time that the SGPC had sent a jatha to Pakistan to mark the death anniversary of founder Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal District of Pakistan. It is located on the banks of the Ravi and overlooks the Indian side.
The strength of the Sikhs in Pakistan is almost insignificant. About 50,000 of them are concentrated mainly in Peshawar, Punjab and some other parts of the country. Very few of them, as also of other minority communities, get absorbed in Government jobs in Pakistan. Many Sikhs who work as traders, are afraid of sending their children to school due to the disparity minorities are subjected to in educational and other institutes throughout Pakistan.
The Sikh jatha was told to skip visit to Panja Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan by the ETPB officials, during their pilgrimage to the neighboring country. Besides Kartarpur Sahib and Panja Sahib, members of the Jatha were also scheduled to pay obeisance at various historical Sikh shrines, including Dera Sahib, Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Sahib, Rahra Sahib during their 10-day-tour to Pakistan.
But due to the devastating blast that rocked Hotel Marriott in Islamabad on September 21, (Islamabad is quite close to Panja Sahib), the ETBP was told by the higher authorities to cancel the visit to this historical shrine. This gurdwara has the imprint of a hand attributed to Guru Nanak Dev.
As many as 95 pilgrims had been sent by the SGPC on September 18 to Pakistan; the other members had been sent by various Sikh organisations, including the Nankana sahib Sikh Yatri Jatha, Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Trust Jatha, the Khalra Mission Committee.