New Delhi: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has written to external affairs minister S Jaishankar seeking permission to visit Pakistan for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 8. “As a humble Sikh, it shall be a great honour to pay obeisance to our great Guru Baba Nanak on this historic occasion and connect to our roots,” he wrote.
On the directives of Imran Khan, PTI senator Faisal Javed had contacted Sidhu and extended the invitation. The Congress leader also attended Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in August 2018. At that time, he was a Cabinet minister.
Putting an end to the face-off going on between India and Pakistan over the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced on Friday that his government has waived two key requirements for Sikh pilgrims travelling for a pilgrimage to the Gurdwara. Sikh pilgrims will no longer need a passport and they won’t have to register ten days in advance. However, the issue of a fee was not resolved as only on the opening day, no fee will be charged.
The first batch of 1,100 Sikhs from India already reached Lahore on Thursday for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.
India and Pakistan last week signed the agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor that will allow Indian pilgrims to undertake a visa-free visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the shrine of the Sikh religion’s founder Guru Nanak Dev 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 the 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.
India and Pakistan signed the agreement after three rounds of tough negotiations. 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 a fee, though India has requested Pakistan not to charge the Indian pilgrims.
(With Agency Inputs)