Promoting Inter-Faith Harmony

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Pakistan pledging inter-faith harmony allowed Sikh pilgrims to attend Baisakhi Mela celebrations. Around five thousand Sikh pilgrims, local as well as foreigners, are participating in the Baisakhi Mela celebrations at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, Narowal on Tuesday. The festival of Baisakhi is an ancient tradition of the Punjab region, a harvest festival that marks the beginning of a new year. It was once celebrated in Punjabi villages, on both sides of the border, with village fairs or melas. Baisakhi is especially important in Sikhism, as on this day in 1699, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs laid the foundation of the Panth Khalsa, the body of initiated Sikhs. According to Sikh tradition, the Guru addressed the congregation on the day of Baisakhi from a tent on a hill. He drew his sword and asked for a volunteer, willing to sacrifice his head. No one answered his first call or the second call, but on the third call, a person called Daya Ram came forward and offered his head. Minorities cherish freedom of rights in the country. The Christians also recently celebrated the Easter festival in Pakistan that also received heartfelt greetings from their countrymen which manifest a great atmosphere of good religious and cultural harmony in the country. Special services are hosted at different places across the country where the believers attend prayers for salvation, and for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. All provincial police departments make special security arrangements to provide security cover to the minority communities during their festivals or special prayers. The minorities in Pakistan are free to practice their religion as there are around 2,652 churches in the country – 1 church per 664 Christians, comparing one mosque per 2,249 Muslims in the UK. The state of Pakistan has constantly been taking administrative and legislative measures to protect the minorities’ rights to provide them with a safe and free environment, without any discrimination.

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