Petty politics: Pakistan to invite Manmohan Singh for Kartarpur corridor opening ceremony

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Updated: September 30, 2019 3:59 PM

The Kartarpur corridor will enable Sikh pilgrims to visit shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan.

Kartarpur corridorFile Pic of Manmohan Singh. Pakistan has decided to invite former Indian PM for Kartarpur corridor opening ceremony.

The Pakistan government has decided to invite Congress leader and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the opening ceremony of Kartarpur corridor, Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said. The decision to invite Singh instead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes after Pakistan’s failed attempts to draw world leaders’ attention on the Kashmir issue.

Qureshi said the preparations are underway in Pakistan for opening of Kartarpur corridor. “PM Imran Khan has personal interest in it. We have decided to invite former PM (of India) Manmohan Singh on the occasion. We want him to participate in the event. He is very special to us and represents the Sikh community. So we have decided to invite him (Manmohan Singh) on the occasion of the inauguration. Myself, on the behalf of people of Pakistan, Prime Minister invite him. We will also extend an invitation to him in writing,” the Pakistan FM said.

The under-construction border corridor will enable Sikh pilgrims to visit shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan. The construction of the corridor had started in 2018. The corridor is likely to open for pilgrims in November this year before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The corridor is intended to allow Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara without a visa.

Watch: Pakistan invites Manmohan Singh for Kartarpur corridor opening ceremony

The Kartarpur Corridor was first proposed in early 1999 by the then PMs of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively. However, it could not materialise due to rising tension in the relationship.

If Pakistan sends a formal invitation to the former PM, then it could add to the embarrassment which the Congress party has been facing for finding references in Pakistan’s remarks at international forums on Kashmir issue. There is no confirmation from the Congress party on receiving the invite nor of the invitation being sent on Pakistan’s behalf.

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