The Sadqi check point on the India-Pakistan border, about 13 km from Fazilka in Punjab is all set to be the third of joint check points (JCP) to hold a joint retreat ceremony between the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and the Pakistan Rangers.
After a meeting between officials from both the sides of the border on Wednesday at Sulemanki in Pakistan, it was decided that Sadqi-Sulemanki check-point too will start holding joint retreat ceremony from next month, reported The Hindustan Times. However, the BSF is waiting for the Centre’s nod for the same.
Earlier, the Sadqi retreat ceremony involved just the lowering of flags on each side of the border, and a ceremonial march unlike the one in Wagah and Hussainwala, where the personnel cross the zero line, and shake hands before lowering the flag.
At Sadqi, the BSF personnel and Pakistani Rangers march and lower the national flags in their respective territories, while at Wagah and Hussainiwala, their counterparts cross the Radcliffe Line, shake hands and lower the flags.Official to Hindustan Times
Why Sadqi Is Different...
In a blog post, Sukhdeep Kaur writes that, “Sadqi is no Wagah. Here the ceremony happens just where the fields end, a quaint show just before sundown. There are no ceremonial gates that are slammed shut – Pakistan has no gate while the Indian one lies closed with a barbed fence. The BSF jawans, perform their drill near the barbed fence, while the Pakistan Rangers are positioned on a hillock that’s painted in the camouflage colours of green and grey.”
The decision to have a joint retreat ceremony, which is expected to begin in a month, is likely to draw more crowds as the distance where the ceremony will be held is reduced by 20 meters.
Also, unlike the Wagah and the Hussainwala, Sadqi got a checkpost for its gates, an open-air-like theatre and a music system. The tourists who usually visit the Sadqi retreat also visit the Asafwala War Memorial which was built to pay homage to the martyrs of 1971 Indo-Pak war.
With thousands of visitors every day, the Wagah-Attari ceremony is the most popular, and has been held jointly since 1959. The joint ceremony in Hussainwala began in 1970, when one evening the then BSF Inspector General Ashwani Kumar Sharma called the authorities and announced that joint retreat ceremony will be held, which became the practice from the very next day. The Indian jawans dressed in khaki, march up to the zero line, and match their march with the Pakistani Rangers, dressed in their pitch black uniform.