Thousands of Sikhs gather for harvest festival in Pakistan
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Thousands of Sikhs gather for harvest festival in Pakistan

A newlywed Sikh couple attends the Vasakhi festival, at the shrine of Gurdwara Punja Sahib, the second most sacred place for Sikhs, in Hasan Abdal, some 50 kilometers (31 Miles) from Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, April 14, 2019. Thousands of Sikh pilgrims arrived from neighboring India and other countries to attend the harvest festival that is regionally known by many names and marks the Solar New Year. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

ISLAMABAD — Thousands of Sikh pilgrims from across the world have gathered at a shrine in Pakistan to celebrate the Vaisakhi harvest festival amid heightened security.

The festival concluded Sunday, with pilgrims bathing and worshipping at a pond at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in the town of Hasanabdal, outside Islamabad.

Some 2000 Sikhs travelled to Pakistan from neighbouring India despite recent tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Sikhs are a small minority in Muslim-majority Pakistan, but many Sikh holy sites ended up in the country after the 1947 partition from India following independence from Britain.

The Associated Press