New Delhi: Pakistan on Thursday agreed to open Kartarpura Corridor on Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took to the micro-blogging site to inform about the decision. He 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 - Pak PM Imran Khan Bats for Taliban, Says Incentivise Them on Women's Rights, Inclusive Govt
Earlier in the day, 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. Also Read - Don't Need Lessons From 'Failed State': India Hits Out at Pak, OIC For Raising Kashmir Issue at UNHRC
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“In a landmark decision, the Cabinet approves building and development of Kartarpura corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to International Border. Kartarpura corridor project with all modern amenities and facilities to be implemented with Central Government funding” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
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.
The Home Minister said that the government has decided to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak throughout the country in a grand and befitting manner.
He said he had personally met the prime minister and the external affairs minister and requested them to take up the issue with Pakistan.
The Kartarpura Sahib Corridor was first proposed by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 when he took a bus ride to Lahore.
Recently, Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had attended Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in Islamabad in August, has 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.
Earlier this month, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up with the Pakistan government the issue of opening the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpura Sahib.
Referring to the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November, the chief minister apprised Swaraj that the Punjab Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution on August 27, seeking uninterrupted opening of the corridor.
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 kilometers from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.