Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the viewers’ gallery at Hussainiwala, Indo-Pakistan joint checkpost, used to host more than 1,000 visitors each day. However, it has now been wearing a deserted look. The entry of visitors for the beating retreat ceremony was stopped by the BSF last year.
Although the Pakistan Rangers have allowed the visitors, the Indian side is yet to open its doors to the public amid the Covid-19 outbreak. The electrifying drill by the BSF and Pakistan Rangers is the main highlight at Hussainiwala. There is huge rush at the weekends and special occasions.
On the other hand, the current situation has left local restaurants owners, autorickshaw drivers and other vendors in the lurch. Local businessmen have urged the BSF to allow visitors at the earliest as most of them are now on the verge of starvation.
Sources said the BSF has resumed the beating retreat ceremony at the India-Bangladesh border, but no decision has been taken to allow visitors at the Attari-Wagah and Hussainiwala border joint checkpost. Sources, however, said the issue of the visitors’ entry was under consideration.
Beating retreat ceremony
At the Hussainiwala-Ganda Singh wala border crossing, a flag beating retreat ceremony is held every day at 6 pm since 1970. It is jointly held by the military of both nations. It is open for the public and visitors as a tourist attraction.