New Delhi: A day after the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the second batch of pilgrims, consisting of 225 members, on Sunday crossed the Indian border and paid obeisance at the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Narowal district.
Setting the first religious link in seven decades between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the much-talked-about Kartarpur Corridor.
After the inauguration, PM Modi flagged off the first batch pilgrims, consisting of 500 members, to visit Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan. Former PM Manmohan Singh, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, and Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol were among the pilgrims who visited in the first batch.
Former PM Manmohan Singh went to Kartarpur after accepting Pakistan’s invitation to the inaugural ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor, claimed Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Pakistan’s Capital TV.
“I had invited former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. I’m thankful to him, he wrote me a letter and said, ‘I’ll come but not as a chief guest but an ordinary man.’ We’ll welcome him even if he comes as an ordinary man,” stated the Foreign Minister of Pakistan as per news agency ANI.
On the other hand, Manmohan Singh after offering prayers at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur on the inauguration day expressed hope that the relationship between India and Pakistan would improve enormously as a result of the Kartarpur.
Singh also said that though there are many “buts and ifs” in the relationship between India and Pakistan, Kartarpur corridor is a good beginning to normalise the relation. “It was a good beginning, India-Pakistan relations are subject to many buts and ifs, I hope this is a good beginning to normalise our relation,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
After the inauguration, pilgrims can visit this holy place from dawn to dusk without possessing a visa. However, online registration by a devotee before travelling, carrying a passport and paying a service fee of $20 are a must.
The development comes after India signed an agreement with Pakistan on October 24 on the modalities for operationalisation of the 4.2 km-long four-lane Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at the Zero Point on the international boundary.
From the Pakistan side, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the corridor and congratulated the Sikh community on the Guru’s 550th birth anniversary. He said the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is a testimony to Pakistan’s commitment to regional peace.
(With inputs from IANS)