By Asia Samachar Team | UK |
A Pakistani delegation has met UK Sikhs in efforts to ‘build a permanent and sustainable’ corridor at Kartarpur, the city founded by Guru Nanak who lived there in the latter part of his life.
The Pakistan delegation to the UK last month was spearheaded by representatives from the Hashoo Group of Companies, a conglomerate with a presence in hospitality, energy, commodities, manufacturing and property development.
A meeting between the Pakistani delegation and the British Sikh Association (BSA) chaired by UK MP Yasmin Qureshi on 15 Jan 2019 culminated with an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties.
The MOU confirmed the commitment of Pakistan’s leading business and the British Sikhs to work together in the development of the infrastructure for the Kartarpur Corridor and other sites of religious importance in Pakistan for Sikh pilgrims, according to a BSA statement available at its website.
The meeting was an opportunity for Qureshi and nine other MPs to hear of the Kartarpur Corridor plans, the statement added.
The meeting follows the historic meeting of minds on both India and Pakistan to allow limited, visa-free, travel to Kartarpur in what is called the Kartarpur Corridor.
On 28 November 2018, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking of the long-awaited corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.
However, some Sikh quarters have raised the alarm of the potential destruction of sites with historical value in the event of unbridled development in Kartarpur.
The Pakistani delegation included Ambassador Hameed Kidwai, Hashoo Group deputy chairman Murtaza Haswani and Hashoo Group chief commercial & strategy officer Steven Henderson.
They met BSA chairman Dr Rami Ranger who is also chairman of Sun Mark Ltd along with BSA president Amarjit Dassan, vice chairman Dr Ravi Gidar and vice presidents Jasbir Johal and Surjit Pandher. The Sikh gurdwaras were represented by Gurmail Singh Malhi, the president of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Southall, London.
In a The News report, it was noted that the MoU would see both parties working together to develop a suitable master plan for the project and develop a 10-year development and marketing strategy for the project. The detailed terms and condition will be set out by execution of separate agreements for selected projects.
Both parties will also collaborate and support each other in promotion of the project, land acquisition, press communications, marketing strategies and raising funds to budget the projects. They will also identify mutually acceptable investment opportunities connected with the project within Pakistan, the report added.
Hashoo Group, established in 1960 by Sadruddin Hashwani, is also the owner and operator of the Pearl Continental Hotels and Marriott Hotels brands with presence in major cities of Pakistan and Ocean Pakistan Ltd, a prestigious oil and gas exploration and production company.
The Opening of the Kartarpur Corridor (Asia Samachar, 20 Dec 2018)
International peace bridge connecting Kartarpur in Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak in India(Asia Samachar, 21 Sept 2018)