India ruined Sikh holy places, Pakistan taking care

Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said he had honoured his pledge to grant district status to Nankana Sahib, Baba Guru Nanak's birthplace that was equally important to Muslims and Sikhs. He said Pakistanis were aware of the sanctity of places of worship. He said a number of development projects had been initiated to facilitate Sikh pilgrims and it would be made a model city. He said the Sikh pilgrims would see a pleasant change in Nankana Sahib next year. He said the Wagah-Nankana dual carriageway, the foundation stone of which was laid by Capt Amarinder Singh, was being completed speedily.  

He said brotherly ties between Indian and Pakistani Punjab had a long history and were initiated by Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi and Grn Ziaul Haq. He said despite ups and downs, the ties were being strengthened by cooperation in sports, education and cultural activities that were initiated three years ago, by the successors of Zahoor Elahi and Ziaul Haq. He said Paramjeet Singh Sarna and Capt Amarinder Singh contributed to the friendship and the process would continue.  

He appreciated the Sikh community's aid for earthquake victims' relief and rehabilitation and said the gold palanquin brought from India was accompanied by love and affection of the people of Indian Punjab. He said he remembered the Indians' hospitality during his visit last year.  Federal Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq said foolproof security arrangements had been made at holy places of minorities and the issue of relaxation of visa process of Indian pilgrims was discussed in a meeting with President Gen Pervaiz Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and would be resolved soon. Evacuee Property Trust Board Chairman Lt Gen (r) Zulfiqar Ali Khan said development projects worth Rs 26 million were underway for the Sikh community, including hotels in Nankana Sahib, Lahore and Punja Sahib.  

Delhi Gurudwara Management Committee President Paramjeet Singh Sarna, Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee President Sardar Mastan Singh and Nankana District Nazim Pir Mumtaz Ali Shah also addressed the gathering. Punjab Tourism Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal was present on the occasion.

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