A large number of Sikh devotees from India have visited the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan and installed a golden palanquin at the shrine, days ahead of the historic inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor. Most of the 1,100 Sikhs, who are in Pakistan to attend the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib, visited the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, also known as Kartarpur Sahib, along with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and installed the golden palanquin they had brought in with them.
The governor said that the Kartarpur Corridor, which has been completed within the stipulated time, will help bring both the countries closer. Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has decided to make it mandatory for the tour operators to have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the interior ministry to take foreign Sikhs, other than Indians, to the holy site specially the Kartarpur Sahib.
“The Sikhs coming from the US, Canada and the European countries have been issued visit visa for Lahore. There are security problems with regard to their uncoordinated visits to the holy places. That’s why the tour operators have been asked to take an NoC from the interior ministry,” an official said.
The visiting Sikhs will also be the part of the historic opening of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the corridor, days ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12.
India and Pakistan last week signed the agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor that will allow Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the shrine of the Sikh religion’s founder Guru Nanak in Pakistan, notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir.
The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life. The corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor and the travel will be visa-free.
Each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee, though India has requested Pakistan not to charge the Indian pilgrims. Sikh pilgrims have started coming at the Nankana Sahib from India and other countries in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.