We have not lost control of Kartarpur, says Sikh leader

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Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur just days before the Guru Nanak 550th anniversary celebration – Photo: Ramesh Singh Arora
By Asia Samachar Team | PAKISTAN |

A Pakistan Sikh leader has denounced media reports saying the Pakistan government has pushed aside Sikhs to take complete control of Kartarpur gurdwara which was the venue of a major Sikh celebration last year.

Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh said the reports were baseless ‘propaganda’.

“We are very much in charge of the internal affairs of the gurdwara,” he said in an entry at his personal Facebook today (5 Nov).

In one report, Times of India said Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs has taken over the control of the Kartarpur Gurudwara from PSGPC and handed it over to Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) ahead of one-year anniversary of its opening.

It is for the first time that PSGPC has lost management rights of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. The move comes just ahead of Pakistan’s Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee (PSGPC) planning to organise the first anniversary of the Kartarpur Gurudwara opening on Nov 9, it added.

The Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) officially took away the full control of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Punjab’s Narowal District from PSGPC, according to another report.

“Consequent upon the approval of Project Management Unit (PMU) Kartarpur Corridor by ECC of the Cabinet, and ratified by the Cabinet (conveyed by MoRA…dated 23.10.2020), the competent authority has been pleased to establish Project Management Unit (PMU), a self-financing body, for Management and Maintenance of Gurdwara Dardar Sahib Kartarpur (GADSK) under the administrative control of ETPB,” it quoted an official order.

Satwant said ETPB had always been in charge of all Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan, and continues to do so, urging all parties to understand the roles of the committee and the board.

“You (politicians from India) take care of your affairs. The Pakistan government has been supporting us to run our gurdwaras as per the Sikh Reht Maryada,” he said in an apparent dig on some Sikh politicians who were seen to be capitalising on the issue.

Guru Nanak, the first of the Sikh gurus, spent the last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur.

In November 2019, the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak was celebrated with the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, a link allowing Indians to visit the historic gurdwara.

RELATED STORY:

Kartarpur Corridor: Sikh Soft Power (Asia Samachar, 22 Feb 2020)

 

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