Second wagah & faith tourism | Pakistan & India Agree to New Ceremony

LAHORE: Pakistan Rangers and India’s Border Security Forces are set to replicate Wagah border’s elaborate military drill in one of three border openings between the two countries, to draw more tourists.

Amid frosty ties between Pakistan and India, Pakistan Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force plan to open a new front of bonhomie on the Punjab border.

The security forces of the neighbouring countries plan to develop the Sulemanki- Sadiqi joint check post (JCP) as a tourist spot on the lines of the Attari-Wagah JCP soon.

“Sulemanki and Sadiqi have tourism potential so both nations have made up their mind to develop the JCP. It may later lead to the opening of trade and traffic from Pakistan here,” a BSF official said on condition of anonymity.

Attari-Wagah, Hussainiwala and Sadiqi are three Indo-Pak joint check posts that hold a 40-minute retreat ceremony every evening when BSF personnel in khaki, red and white match steps with black salwar-kurta clad Pakistani Rangers.

Till the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Hussainiwala was the only road route for trade and traffic between the two nations but later the business activity centre was shifted to Attari-Wagah JCP.

The decision to upgrade infrastructure was taken at a joint meeting at Sulemanki post on Wednesday. It was decided to conduct the retreat ceremony, including flag lowering and handshakes, daily on the lines of the ceremony at Wagah and Hussainiwala.

Pakistani Rangers and the BSF personnel marched at Sadiqi and lowered the national flags in their respective territories, while at Wagah and Hussainiwala, their counterparts cross the Radcliffe Line, shake hands and lower the flags.

Similarly despite simmering tensions between Pakistan and India, the two nuclear-armed neighbours continue to facilitate each other’s pilgrims intending to visit religious sites located on both sides of the border.

While around 1,300 Sikhs arrived in Pakistan last week to attend the annual 319th Khalsa Janam Din and Baisakhi festival at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal, Pakistan’s religious ministry has invited applications from pilgrims who plan to visit India for the annual Urs of Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Sani at Sirhind Sharif, India. The annual Urs will be held from November 16 to 23 this year.

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