Centre approves plan for construction of Kartarpur Sahib corridor for Sikh pilgrims, Pakistan responds

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New Delhi | Updated: November 22, 2018 2:59:25 PM

Kartarpur corridor: In a landmark decision, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday approved a plan to develop a dedicated corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border to enable Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year.

Kartarpur corridor Centre approves plan for construction of Kartarpur Sahib corridor for Sikh pilgrims. Express photo by Jaipal Singh 26-9-2012

In a landmark decision, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday approved a plan to develop a dedicated corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border to enable Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year. Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed media about the decision. “Kartarpur corridor project with all modern amenities and facilities to be implemented with Central government,” he said.

Singh said that the corridor will provide smooth and easy passage to pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib throughout the year. He said that New Delhi will urge Islamabad to also develop a similar corridor in its territory.

“Government of Pakistan will be urged to reciprocate and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory,” the Home Minister said. Notably, Congress leader Navjot SIngh Sidhu had landed in a controversy during his visit to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sidhu had invited criticism back home for hugging the Pakistan Army chief. In his defence, Sidhu had said that he was informed that Pakistan would open the Kartarpur Sahib corrridor for smooth passage for Sikh pilgrims.

Located 4 km from the International Border, Kartarpur Sahib is built on the historic site where Guru Nanak settled after his missionary travels.

India’s move coincides with the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev which falls on November 23.

One the corridor becomes operational, Sikh pilgrims will be able to visit the holy place on a regular basis and that without having a visa. Only they will need a government identity card to undertake the pilgrimage. TV reports said that pilgrims will have to return to India the same day after attending the services there.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has responded positively to India’s decision for developing a dedicated corridor. The Imran Khan government said that work on 4 km long project will be over by September 2019. Television reports suggest that Pakistan Army Chief and officials may visit the site next week.

Reacting to the government’s announcement, Congress leader and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sindhu said, “I thank the Governent of India from the core of my heart and take a bow! I request the Hon’ble PM of Pakistan Imran Khan to take reciprocal steps for opening the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and spread Baba Nanak’s message of universal brotherhood and peace across the Globe.”

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