Pakistan’s central bank has issued a commemorative coin to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Dr. Reza Baqir unveiled the commemorative 550-rupee coin in Karachi on Nov. 12 in the presence of Sikh community leaders led by Sardar Ramesh Singh Khalsa, patron in chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council charity and a member of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board. “Through this gesture, the State Bank is contributing to the national efforts to support interreligious harmony,” Baqir said. “Second, the coin will underscore the message of peace taught by Baba Guru Nanak. Third, this initiative is to promote peace, which enhances economic prosperity, a key goal of the State Bank of Pakistan.” Ramesh thanked the government and said the issuance of the coin served as a special gift for 140 million Sikhs living all over the world.
The coins are available at Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in the Punjab and the Shrine of Baba Guru Nanak at Kartarpur Sahib. SBP governor Reza Baqir and Pakistan Sikh Council chairman Sardar Ramesh Kumar unveil the commemorative coin in Karachi. (Photo courtesy of SBP) PM’s gestures appreciated
The move comes four days after PM Khan inaugurated the much-anticipated Kartarpur Corridor that allows Indian Sikhs to visit the gurdwara of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Pakistan without a visa. The Kartarpur Corridor connects the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. Under the Kartarpur agreement signed between the two countries this month, 5,000 Indian pilgrims of all faiths will be able to visit the Sikh shrine without visas every day of the year, with the provision for additional numbers on special occasions, subject to capacity. Kailash Kumar Sarhadi, a representative of the Sikh community and director of the NGO Masterpeace Pakistan, welcomed the commemorative coin. “It’s a great gesture from Prime Minister Imran Khan to open the corridor for Sikhs. It has created a lot of goodwill for Pakistan,” he said. “The Sikh community is naturally ecstatic but there can be no better joy than seeing Pakistan in positive news.” Allama Mohammad Ahsan Siddiqui, chairman of the Interfaith Commission for Peace and Harmony, hailed the government’s decision to open the corridor and release the commemorative coin. “It is a commendable effort that will promote peace and tolerance among people of different faiths,” he told ucanews. “We warmly welcome our Sikh brethren to Pakistan. The Kartarpur Corridor is also a good opportunity to open the door window of peace between Pakistan and India.” This is the second time Pakistan has issued a commemorative coin for a figure representing the country’s religious minorities. On May 8, 2018, the SBP issued a 50-rupee commemorative coin in recognition of the meritorious service to the country of German Catholic nun Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau. This is the seventh commemorative coin in total. The previous six were for the nation’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, poet Allama Iqbal, Jinnah’s sister Fatima Jinnah, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, renowned philanthropist Abdus Sattar Edhi and Ruth Pfao.
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