AMRITSAR: To reap the benefits of religious tourism and thus help the cash strapped economy of Pakistan, Punjab (Pakistan) governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar will organize an international Sikh convention in Lahore on August 31.

Given the potential of religious tourism, Pakistan government has made its intentions clear to invest in building the infrastructure. “This (religious tourism) is one of the main reasons that despite snapping trade link with India, stopping rail and bus services and downgrading diplomatic ties, Pakistan has announced to continue with Kartarpur corridor and is carrying out the work on war footing,” said intelligence sources.

Prior to making the announcement, Sarwar had allegedly visited important Sikh shrines in Pakistan along with his Sikh public relation officer Pawan Singh Arora to understand about Sikh religious places and the community’s demands.

When contacted, Arora told TOI on Friday that Sikhs from across the world would be invited to participate in the convention. “The idea is to discuss with them what Pakistan government can do to help them celebrate various functions that are planned to coincide with the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev,” he said.

Pawan said Sarwar, who was also head of religious tourism and heritage committee, had convened the meeting on the directions of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

When asked whether Pakistan government also intends to persuade the Sikhs, who are attending the convention, to invest in creating infrastructure for religious tourism, Arora replied, “This is not our domain.”

According to Pakistan media reports, Sarwar believed Punjab government would be able to generate $4.5 billion from tourism.


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