Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has accepted Pakistan’s invitation to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor that is due to take place next week. However, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has declined the invitation to the event citing terror attacks in the state as the reason. Accepting the invitation that was extended on behalf of Pakistan by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sidhu wrote, “It is with great honour and unalloyed joy that I accept your invitation to attend the ground-breaking ceremony at Kartarpur Sahib on November 28.” He added, “I look forward to meeting you on this historic occasion. My application for permission to attend is now lodged with MEA.”
It was on November 24, that Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi shared a post on Twitter inviting Indian leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu for the event. Out of the three, only Navjot Singh Sidhu will attend the event. While Amarinder Singh has declined, Swaraj said that she will not be able to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments.
However, she nominated Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri to attend the ceremony in her place.
According to a PTI report, the two leaders are expected to ease tension between the two countries. In a letter that has been sent to Pakistan as MEA Swaraj’s response, she said, “Being mindful of the sentiments of our Sikh citizens and the importance of facilitating their smooth and easy access to holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, we will be sending Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Minister for Food Processing and Industries, and Hardeep Singh Puri, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, as the Government of India’s representatives for the event planned for November 28.”
In her letter, Swaraj also said that she hopes the Pakistan government will hasten the construction of the corridor that will, as a result, ensure that “our citizens can pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible.”
It was on November 22, when both India and Pakistan announced that they would develop the Kartarpur corridor in their respective areas that would link Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is also the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism. The shrine is located across the Ravi river in Pakistan and is about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India. Once the corridor is ready, pilgrims from India will have an easy access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.