Hindu pilgrims want visa on arrival for the elderlyArchive
LAHORE: There is no harm in granting visa to the elderly on arrival at Wagah and Attari check posts, especially those desirous of going on a pilgrimage.
“At least 45 days are required, under the current conditions, to get a visa,” said Anil Kumar Rana who was among about 250 Hindu pilgrims who crossed the Wagah border in two groups on Thursday.
About 100 pilgrims left for Mirpur Mathelo, Sindh, in the evening to attend the 307th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Shadharam at Shadani Darbar Hayat Pitafi. The remaining would have a night’s stay at Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore and depart for Katas, in district Chakwal, to pray and perform other rituals at Katas Raj, a complex of ancient Hindu temples.
“It is my third pilgrimage to Pakistan and every time I found better arrangements and received a lot of love here,” said Rana, a resident of Jagadhari, Haryana, who was accompanied by Jagdish Madaan, Mr and Mrs Pankaj Kamboj and others.
To Shankar of Chennai, the exhaustion of crossing the border by foot seemed lesser after getting special care here.
A female pilgrim said there would be thousands of pilgrims from India if visa restrictions were eased.
“This pilgrimage will have a lasting spiritual impact on people like me. Mirpur Mathelo is the holy land of four Vedas that were written at the bank of river Sarswati.
“You can call me Maata Ji who always prays for peace and prosperity for people on both sides of the border,” she said, talking to this reporter.
The Indian pilgrims would return to their homeland through Wagah border on Dec 21.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2015