LAHORE: As many as 217 Hindu pilgrims arrived here on Wednesday through Wagah border on a seven-day tour to participate in Shivratri (night of Shiva) celebrations at the Katasraj temple in Pothohar area of Punjab.
The pilgrims, led by Shiv Partap Bajaj, were received by Evacuee Trust property Board Chairman Saddiqul Farooq.
Welcoming the delegation, the chairman said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had ordered foolproof security and arrangements for the visiting guests.
“The prime minister has extended the hand of friendship to India and repeatedly urged cooperation between both neighbours in order to solve all outstanding issues,” the chairman said. Cooperation and friendship was the only way forward for both countries so that they could prosper and help the entire region develop, he said.
Reciprocating the comments, Indian team leader Shiv Partap, who was born in Multan and is on his 10th visit to Pakistan, said both countries should resolve their issues and let people enjoy the fruits of peace.
“It has always been a pleasure to return to one’s roots. My family belonged to Pind Dadan Khan, I was born in Multan and the first memory I have is of Lahore. All those who left this side of the border have always been eager to return to see their ancestral villages and homes and avail first opportunity to do so. In order to do so, we need peaceful borders and increased people-to-people contact.”
Ms Ashu, who is on third visit to Pakistan, told Dawn that judging by the arrangements and the “reception we get here, it looks that if we are eager to come here,
Pakistan is more eager to welcome us. The warm welcome and perfect arrangements are a big encouragement for all of us and we thank Pakistan for all this and also for all reported development work at the mandir.”
The pilgrims would spend a day in Lahore and then move to Katasraj, where main celebrations will be held on Friday. The pilgrims would return to India on Feb 28.
THE PASHTUN TIMES