–Pakistan welcomes India’s decision, PM Imran to perform groundbreaking of Kartarpur Corridor on Nov 28
–Historic decision will allow Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan without visa
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the Indian government’s decision to develop the Kartarpur corridor that will enable Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, located in Kartarpur, Narowal district without a visa.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said his country will build and develop a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Sikh pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi River in Pakistan.
The decision was lauded by Pakistan’s information minister and foreign minister.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry endorsed the decision, calling it a “victory of peace lobby in both countries”.
“It is a step towards right direction and we hope such steps will encourage voice of reasons and tranquility on both sides of the border,” he said.
Pakistan has conveyed to India its decision to open the Kartarpur corridor, the ground-breaking of which will be performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Nov 28, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.
“Pakistan has already conveyed to India its decision to open Kartarparpur Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary,” Qureshi said in his tweet. The FM said Pakistan welcomed the Sikh community for this auspicious occasion.
Bilawal hails decision:
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari appreciated the decision to open Kartarpur border corridor by Pakistani and Indian governments for Sikh pilgrims, and welcomed the Sikh pilgrims who had travelled to Pakistan to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
Recognising the decision as the fulfillment of the dream of former Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto after a quarter century, he recalled that Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had first proposed to grant a visa-less free corridor to Kartarpur shrine from the Indian border. Since then Sikh devotees had been impressing upon the Government of India to accept Pakistan’s proposal and facilitate Sikh pilgrims visiting their holy shrine.
Bilawal said that PPP always stood for people to people contact between the two neighbouring countries and every government led by PPP had taken significant steps to facilitate the Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from India and the world over, to visit their sacred places.
He pledged that PPP would continue to initiate and support more facilities for non-Muslim pilgrims to visit their holy places in Pakistan.
Earlier, Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal told reporters at a weekly press conference that the bid for opening of Kartarpura border-corridor between Pakistan and India had made swift progress and good news in this regard was in the offing.
“The Kartarpura Corridor will soon see the light of day which will greatly facilitate Sikh pilgrims, crossing two countries,” he said.
The Kartarpura Corridor, on completion, will connect the Sikh holy shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Kartarpura Sahib shrine situated at the two Punjabs of India and Pakistan respectively.
The opening of the corridor was first conveyed by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to the visiting former Indian cricketer Navjaot Singh Sidhu at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan in August.
Thousands of Sikh devotees are currently visiting Pakistan to attend the 549th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak as 3,838 visas were issued.