Rebranding Pakistan: Interfaith harmony, religious tourism, ease of doing business, investment, recreation
DESPARDES News Monitor — The ongoing government initiative for interfaith harmony has led to the Peter Virdee Foundation (PVF) and some Sikh businessmen living in UK announcing £500 million (Rs 96.5 billion ) in donation to upgrade their religious sites in Pakistan.
Pakistan is the birthplace of Sikh religion in the region with highly significant number of Sikhs’ religious and pilgrimage sites.
The UK-based non-governmental organization (NGO) committed the funds in a meeting with Chairman National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari in London.
Earlier, in November, PM Khan laid the foundation stone for the corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district, to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.
Kartarpur Sahib was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522.
“We have the Makkah and Madinah of Sikhs,” PM Khan said in February referring to Kartarpur, while opening up the historical site for the community living on both sides of the India-Pakistan border.
The UK-based NGO works for marginalized section of the society. Sikhs are one of the largest minority communities in the country– Pakistan attracts Sikhs– from India particularly, and from rest of the world — being seat of most of their religious and historical sites.
Bukhari, while talking to APP news agency over phone from London on Tuesday said the PVF’s announcement for setting up the £500 million fund also depicted how the 10-month-old government was channelizing available and new resources for promoting religious tourism in the country effectively.
Last month, the government announced online visa system open for the citizens of 179 countries to encourage tourism and investments in the country.
Moreover, citizens from 50 Countries are eligible to apply for Visa On Arrival under Tourist Category, and the citizens from 95 Countries are eligible to apply for Visa on Arrival under Business Category.