Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh seems to be the preferred person for the opening of the Kartarpur corridor as Sikhs globally prepare to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today (30 Sept) announced that Pakistan has decided to extend an invitation to Manmohan for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor, which is scheduled to be opened in November.
“Kartarpur corridor is an important project, the prime minister has a personal interest in it,” said Qureshi in a video message, reported The Dawn. “After consultations, Pakistan has decided to invite Manmohan Singh to the inauguration, who we hold in high regard. He will represent the Sikh community.”
“On behalf of the government, as the foreign minister of Pakistan, I invite him to attend the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor,” said Qureshi, adding that the government also intends to send Singh a formal written invitation.
The invite comes at a time of heightened war of words between neighbouring India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
The Pakistan newspaper also added that the foreign minister also invited Sikh yatris in his message, saying: “We also await the Sikh yatris […] to come and take part in the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.”
Pakistani project director Atif Majeed had earlier said the visa-free border crossing from India to Kartarpur, Pakistan, would be inaugurated on Nov 9, just ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak on Nov 12.
It was also announced that Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur corridor.
Pakistan has kept the corridor project insulated from the recent tensions with India over annulment of Article 370, subsequent repressive actions in occupied Kashmir and intensified ceasefire violations on the Line of Control. The project had also remained unaffected by the previous episode of escalation between the two sides following the Pulwama attack in February, the report added.
On 29 Nove 2018, Paksitan Prime Minister Imran Khan had 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.
A large number of Sikh yatris ─ both local and Indian ─ along with Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri, Indian Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums Navjot Singh Sidhu, and Indian journalists and foreign diplomats are attending the ceremony.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, and Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi are also in attendance.
Pakistan PM Khan lays foundation stone for long-awaited Kartarpur corridor (Asia Samachar, 28 Nov 2018)