Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday declined Pakistan Foreign Minister’s invitation to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor, citing, continuous terrorist attacks in his state and killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistan armed forces. Also Read - 'Was Only Red-Flagging Potential For Misuse,' Clarifies Punjab DGP on Kartarpur Corridor Remark
On the other hand, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu today accepted to attend the foundation ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor. Responding to an invitation of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to attend the event, Navjot Singh Sidhu wrote, “I look forward to meeting you on this historic occasion. My application for permission to attend is now lodged with MEA.” Also Read - Passport-free Entry to Kartarpur Under Consideration: Pakistan Minister
This comes a day after Sushma Swaraj’s refusal to attend the event “due to her prior election commitments in Telangana”. However, Swaraj declared that Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri would be representing the government of India in the ceremony Also Read - Kartarpur Was Pakistan Army Chief's Idea; Will Hurt India Forever, Says Pakistan Minister
The invitation comes after both the countries agreed to open the corridor for the Sikh devotees for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. This will be Sidhu’s second visit to the neighbouring country this year.
The issue of Kartarpur Sahib came into focus after Sidhu visited Pakistan in August to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Khan as prime minister of that country. After his return, the cricketer-turned-politician had said that Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa assured him that Pakistan may open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib.
On Thursday, in a significant decision, Narendra Modi-led government cleared a proposal to develop a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan.