New Delhi: Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday welcomed the Pakistan government’s decision to open Kartarpura Corridor on Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. Addressing a press conference, Sidhu said, “I welcome this decision, its above politics. I welcome the step of Pakistan Govt also. This will be recorded in history in golden words.” Also Read - Pakistan Increases Testing Capability as Coronavirus Cases Rise to Nearly 1,900
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had tweeted, “Pakistan has already conveyed to India its decision to open Kartarpura Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. PM Imran Khan will do break ground at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion.” Also Read - Coronavirus: 'World Economy Staring at Recession; India, China Likely Exceptions,' Says UN
The decision came after the Union Cabinet had approved the building and development of Kartarpura Sahib corridor between Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district and the International Border, aimed at providing easy access to pilgrims the holy Gurudwara in Pakistan.
Recently, Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had attended Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in Islamabad in August, had said that Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa hinted at opening of the route to Gurdwara Kartarpura Sahib on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, which will be observed in November next year.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the Centre’s decision to build and develop a corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India to visit holy Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan. “The move will facilitate lakhs of pilgrims desirous of visiting the Kartarpur gurdwara,” Singh had said in a statement.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also tweeted, “Heartily welcome Kartarpur initiative, it will ease the situation between the two neighbours. Jammu and Kashmir have been waiting for similar large heartedness since the last 70 years. Need to carry forward Vajpayee Ji initiative and open all the routes across LOC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Last month, Pakistan had said that its decision on opening the corridor connecting the two Sikh shrines (Kartarpura Sahib, Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak, India) will depend on whether India holds any dialogue with Pakistan or not.
The corridor is being built to facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit the holy Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpura in Pakistan – where Guru Nanak spent 18 years.
Kartarpura is situated in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, close to Indo-Pak border. It was established by the first Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpura Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died.
Kartarpura Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.