LAHORE: At least 161 Hindu devotees, who reached Wagah border from New Delhi, India, on Saturday, were flown to Peshawar on special planes of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Earlier, MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, PIA Chief Executive Officer Arshad Malik and Lahore District Manager Abdul Qayyum Khan received the devotees at Wagah border. The devotees were then taken to the Lahore airport from where they departed for Peshawar through special PIA flights.
Talking to the media, MNA Vankwani said it was an ideal start of the new year that Hindu devotees from India came to Pakistan to promote religious harmony. The devotees were going to the Teri temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district to perform religious rites over four days. For the first time, religious tourism has been started on a monthly basis, he added.
He further said Hindu devotees from other countries had already reached Peshawar by various flights where they will visit four places to perform their religious rites.
He also told the media that a delegation from Pakistan would visit Ajmer Sharif this month.
The MNA further maintained that the Pakistani devotees will fly through PIA and Indians travel through Air India. He hoped the religious tours will further improve bilateral ties in trade and other fields.
The Hindu devotees thanked Mr Vankwani for hosting them and ensuring the environment was peaceful and conducive for minorities. They also expressed their gratitude for arranging a special flight to Peshawar for the devotees and said hatred between the two countries will definitely vanish after such efforts.
The PIA chief also said the government was promoting religious tourism in the country and would extend PIA operations to northern areas of the country. He said the Hindu devotees would be especially facilitated and the government was planning to extend the operations to Sikh and Buddhist places, too, and devise a package for them.
He said they would continue to facilitate people without any discrimination.