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SOURCE: PTI

Pakistan’s Punjab government said on Tuesday that it will install the restored statue of the first ruler of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, at Kartarpur Sahib on Wednesday so that visiting Sikhs from India would get to view it too.

Kartarpur Sahib is also known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib and is situated about 150 km northeast of Lahore, close to the Indian border. The nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was first installed at the Lahore Fort near his Samadhi in 2019. It was twice vandalised by activists of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a far-right Islamic political party in Pakistan.

“We are going to install Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s statue at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur on Wednesday afternoon in the presence of local and Indian Sikhs,” Punjab’s first Sikh Minister and President (pardhan) of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora told PTI.

The restored statue is being placed at Kartarpur Sahib so that Indian Sikhs visiting there could see it, Arora said. He also assured better security to protect the restored statue.

The minister said restoration work of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Sandhi has already begun which will soon be completed.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century with his headquarters at Lahore.

Currently, 455 Sikhs, who arrived here from India last week to take part in festivities in connection with Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary, will also be present at Kartarpur Sahib on Wednesday when Singh’s statue will be unveiled.