Hindus and Sikhs from across Pakistan's restive northwest gathered at three temples here today to celebrate Raksha Bandhan. Arrangements were made at the historic Kali Bari and two other temples in Lower Courts and Gor Ghatri for members of the two minority communities to observe Raskha Bandan. Ram Lal, a caretaker of Kali Bari temple in Saddar area, said Hindus and Sikhs from cities like Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan travelled to Peshawar for the celebrations. The Raksha Bandan gathering began last night and continued till early this morning. Men and women wearing colorful tunics and dresses arrived at the temples and enjoyed the festivities. Raksha Bandhan coincided with another festival marking the marriage of Gogra Pir, a Hindu deity, Ram Lal said.
The celebration of Gogra Pir's marriage began a month earlier and will culminate in the end of August. During Raksha Bandhan, women and girls tie a rakhi or band with colorful embroidery on the wrist of their brothers, who pledge to protect them. Talking to PTI, several Hindus at Kali Bari temple expressed happiness at the observance of the festivals. Hindu community elders said the festivities were not affected by any threats. "We are freely observing our religious festivities in Pakistan despite the fact that this region is in the grip of insurgency and extremism," one elder said. Sahib Singh, a local Sikh, claimed minorities were not facing any threat from extremist elements.