Expressing his happiness over the opening of Kartarpur corridor, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday reiterated his statement that Pakistan will take two steps towards harmony if India initiates the first. Sidhu also praised both governments over the prompt action to open the corridor. “It’s a commendable step by both the governments (India and Pakistan). I used to say that you (India) take a step, and they (Pakistan) are ready to take two,” Sidhu was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. “Now you took a step & they announced the next day that we will inaugurate it,” the minister added.
Earlier in the day, Sidhu accepted Pakistan’s invitation to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor that is due to take place next week. “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,” Sidhu wrote on Twitter. “I look forward to meeting you on this historic occasion. My application for permission to attend is now lodged with MEA,” he added.
Sidhu was invited to the event along with EAM Sushma Swaraj and Punjab CM Amarinder Singh by Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Out of the three, only Navjot Singh Sidhu will attend the event. While Amarinder Singh has cited terror attacks in Punjab as the reason to not to attend the ceremony, Swaraj has declined the invitation due to prior commitments. However, Indian ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Harsimrat Kaur Badal will travel to Pakistan for the event.
Swaraj also sent a letter to Pakistan in her response to the invitation. “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,” the EAM wrote in the letter.