Sikhs in Pakistan?

Earlier in the month, an East Panjabi newspaper editor, Baljit Brar, posed the possibility that Pakistan stood to earn up to $500 million per year by promoting Sikh tourism.

Nankana_Sahib.jpgBrar suggests that since the airport in Lahore is more convenient and is better maintained than that in Amritsar, with better border mobility the Lahore airport could be the airport of choice for diasporic Sikhs. Many Sikhs have bought into the Romance that is Panjabiyat, including at-times the present langa(w)r-iter. While Brars numbers may be grossly optimistic, I do believe that many Sikhs would love to take advantage of new tourism and travel opportunities.

Many Sikhs left West Panjabi villages and cities in their stead in 1947. Another langa(w)r-iter had commented on the traumas of Partition. The opportunity to revisit one ancestral home may be part of the process in healing old wounds.

Brar makes a number of suggestions. In a world where economics flows across borders, new opportunities may avail themselves to the Sikhs to increase the prosperity of Panjab. One hopes governments can help create an environment where greater flows are possible. I definitely have longed to visit West Panjab. What about you? Is something like this feasible?


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17 Responses to “Sikhs in Pakistan?”

  1. gurdit says:

    the lahore airport, which is already open to diasporic sikhs who are citizens of countries other than india, is definitely convenient for them (or for indian sikhs who live outside of punjab, provided there were direct flights to lahore and that they were allowed to fly). however, this is not necessarily true for punjabi sikhs. the suggestion made by brar towards the end of the article seems more practical for punjabi sikh pilgrims: open the wagah border. when i lived in lahore in the mid-1990s, i crossed the wagah border by road (literally walking across the border) several times. sometimes, it took me less than two hours to get from the center of lahore to that of amritsar (and vice versa). it would typically take around the same time if not more to merely commute to airports in both cities.

  2. gurdit says:

    the lahore airport, which is already open to diasporic sikhs who are citizens of countries other than india, is definitely convenient for them (or for indian sikhs who live outside of punjab, provided there were direct flights to lahore and that they were allowed to fly). however, this is not necessarily true for punjabi sikhs. the suggestion made by brar towards the end of the article seems more practical for punjabi sikh pilgrims: open the wagah border. when i lived in lahore in the mid-1990s, i crossed the wagah border by road (literally walking across the border) several times. sometimes, it took me less than two hours to get from the center of lahore to that of amritsar (and vice versa). it would typically take around the same time if not more to merely commute to airports in both cities.

  3. Jodha says:

    Thank you Gurdit for emphasizing that point that Brar was making the suggestion for East Punjabi Sikhs. Sorry if that was not clear enough.

  4. Jodha says:

    Thank you Gurdit for emphasizing that point that Brar was making the suggestion for East Punjabi Sikhs. Sorry if that was not clear enough.

  5. Simple Sardar who is says:

    I have travelled throughout Pakistani Punjab. It is truly amazing. Islamabad International airport is fast and efficient, and Sikhs are always welcomed with a warm smile and greeting in Punjabi. Narowal and Sialkot are beautiful places to visit. There are still remnants of local Gurdwaras in those areas. Dera Sahib in Lahore is beautiful too. Nankana Sahib is in the heart of the Sheikhapura Disrict – and another must visit. My personal recommendation would be Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal. That was awesome. People are friendly and a majority of them speak Punjabi. Random people on the streets of Lahore came up to me to hug me and express how happy they were to see a turban on the streets of Lahore. The common sentiment was that politicians had created a wedge between two peoples who shared a common language, common food, and a common creed of hospitality and generosity. As a good Muslim friend once taught me: "If you're body is split in to two parts how can one side say that it doesn't belong to the other."

  6. Simple Sardar who is Proud of Another says:

    I have travelled throughout Pakistani Punjab. It is truly amazing. Islamabad International airport is fast and efficient, and Sikhs are always welcomed with a warm smile and greeting in Punjabi. Narowal and Sialkot are beautiful places to visit. There are still remnants of local Gurdwaras in those areas. Dera Sahib in Lahore is beautiful too. Nankana Sahib is in the heart of the Sheikhapura Disrict – and another must visit. My personal recommendation would be Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal. That was awesome. People are friendly and a majority of them speak Punjabi. Random people on the streets of Lahore came up to me to hug me and express how happy they were to see a turban on the streets of Lahore. The common sentiment was that politicians had created a wedge between two peoples who shared a common language, common food, and a common creed of hospitality and generosity. As a good Muslim friend once taught me: “If you’re body is split in to two parts how can one side say that it doesn’t belong to the other.”

  7. Nazia says:

    I LOVE PAKISTAN!!!

    ALLAH HAMESHA HAMAREY PAKISTAN KO QAIM O DAIM RAKHEY!!!

    I AM PROUD TO BE A PAKISTANI!!!

    EY ALLAH TERA BOHTTTTTTTTT SHUKR HAI KEY HAMEY PAKISTAN JESA PYARA AUR NAIK MULK ATA KIYA!!!

  8. Nazia says:

    I LOVE PAKISTAN!!!
    ALLAH HAMESHA HAMAREY PAKISTAN KO QAIM O DAIM RAKHEY!!!
    I AM PROUD TO BE A PAKISTANI!!!
    EY ALLAH TERA BOHTTTTTTTTT SHUKR HAI KEY HAMEY PAKISTAN JESA PYARA AUR NAIK MULK ATA KIYA!!!

  9. S Qureshi says:

    Sikhs should be always welcome to visit their sacred places in Pakistan, just like all Muslims are welcome to visit Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umra.

    Sikhs should learn from Muslims who never say anything against Saudi Arabia (just because its land of their beloved prophet's birth place) at least publicly, even they some time don't like policies of Saudi Arabia. You can interview any Pakistani Muslim to confirm this point.

    This will help open more doors for Sikhs from around the world. Religion and politics should not be mixed.

  10. Dosanjh says:

    I went to Pakistan in 2006 for one of my best friend's (British muslim) wedding. Never felt so at home and welcome in all my life. Stayed in his home village in Lahore district and gotta say, apart from the common sight of red / orange henna on some old people's hair you would never know that you wern't in a pend back in Indian Punjab (a pend in any district except Jalandhar that is). Every time I spoke people kept assuming I was just another Pakistani from Faisalabad district (Lyalpur), because apparently, the dialect of Punjabi from Jalandhar we know as doabi is known as Faisalabadi Punjabi in Pakistan because that is the district all the muslims from Jalandhar were housed in after 1947.

  11. Dosanjh says:

    Anyway, the issue doesn't really arise with me because London is pretty well served by international airlines to Amritsar, but if that wasn't the case I would definately jump at the chance to fly to Lahore rather than Delhi. But thats just the way I am. Even for the history of Sikhs and the history of the Punjabi language and culture etc I have always looked north towards central Asia. The India to the south of Punjab is just a forein country full of different foreign looking people as far as I'm concerned. Wouldn't want to fly there unless I was forced to.

  12. Maneesha says:

    I am indian but I belive that the respect you get in Pakistan for being a sikh you won't find it anywhere in the world like in India that bitch indra ghandi blew up the golden temple and the temples in Pakistan are kept beautifull and in india all the hindus say that pakistan is the enemy when it is the hindus killing eveyone i think the punjab in india should join pakistan and so should Kashmir we will all be happy without hindus…

  13. Sher says:

    "Even for the history of Sikhs and the history of the Punjabi language and culture etc I have always looked north towards central Asia"
    You would have indeed felt at home among the Pakistanis who also feel they are Central Asians, Arabs, Iranians…anything but indian.

    As far as Punjabi language is concerned, show little honesty here as (in spite of being home to over 100 million Punjabi speaking populace) there is not a single Punjabi school in Pakistan!! Punjabi is banned from Punjab state Assembly in Pakistani Punjab!

    Compare the situation to India where Punjabi (with Gurmukhi scripts) is a second language in the neighbouring state. New Delhi has most of the road signs in Gurmukhi script as well. In Punjab, the so-called national language Hindi is zealously kept out from all the govt and private busines. In spite of such a huge number of interstate traffic, road/traffic signs are in punjabi and English.

    The progress of Sikh religion in Pakistan can be seen from the dwindling number of Sikh population in that part of the world. Just have a look at the census reports and you would be forced to change your views about a country whe Sunni terrorists are (after decimating Hindu, Sikh minorities) killing Shia, Ahmediya Muslims. Sikhs are beheaded frequently and even have to pay jaziya in some border regions.

    Simple test, ask your saabat soorat pend Wala cousin whether he would like to shift back to Pakistan. I would really like to know the HONEST answer expletives included. Would he like to swap privileges he has in India to the repression of Pakistan? Can he keep his Sikhi (which is unofficial state religion in Indian Punjab, promoted unashamedly by state govt) intact there?

    Get over your hatred for everything Hindu and Indian and also the hypocrisy reflected in such misguiding posts.

  14. balwinder says:

    Sometime, i feel how minorities can live happily in an islamic state. The politicians will continue exploiting the religious sentiments of the people.

  15. There are a number of Sikhs living in the Lahore and they are living with their religion freely. They have no issues by living in the Lahore and they are free to live to perform their religious duty. And for this they are not forcing to do with the custom of Lahore but according to them.

  16. sha says:

    anyone from sikh darm who has visited lahore and sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan have witnessed the hospitality of lahore and punjabi people towards their punjabi brethren… sikh from every where are always most welcome to come to Pakistan and visit and pray at gurdwaras and stay … i am from Lahore and we love you all … we have same language, culture, and big hearts …. this is your punjabi home … please come as much as you want and anytime you want … love you all punjabis regardless of religion ….