New Delhi: In a significant thaw to the frigid ties, India has responded positively to Pakistan’s invitation to the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a corridor leading up to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, saying two senior Sikh ministers will represent New Delhi. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will be conducting the ceremony. Qureshi had extended the invitation to Sushma Swaraj, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, and state minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu who has been calling for the opening of the Kartarpur corridor.
Saturday’s development comes after Union Cabinet on Thursday decided to build a corridor from Gurdaspur district in Punjab to the International Border with Pakistan ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019. The proposal for a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib, the place where Nanak died in 1539 has been a demand from India for two decades. The shrine is visible from the Indian side of the border. “It is our hope that the government of Pakistan will expedite the construction of the corridor in order to ensure that our citizens can pay their respect at the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible”, Sushma said. The government will also develop Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab, the city associated with Guru Nanak’s early life, as a heritage town conforming to all principles of smart cities. It will also run special trains to sacred places and gurudwaras associated with the Sikh Guru’s life, he said.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will lay the foundation stone for the newly-announced Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib road corridor in Gurdaspur district’s Mann village on Monday. Sikh pilgrims will now be able to visit the iconic Gurudwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur on the banks of the river Ravi. New Delhi’s decision comes amid continued rows over Islamabad’s denial of consular access to Sikh pilgrims visiting pilgrimage sites there. (IANS)
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