Mukherjee favours cross-border corridor to Sikh shrine in Pak

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Dera Baba Nanak, Jun 28 (UNI) India is actively considering establishing an international cross-border corridor from this border town of Gurdaspur district to the historic gurdwara of Kartarpur, just across the border in Pakistan.

This was stated here today by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee while making an on-the-spot study of the possible route of this proposed corridor which will provide Sikh pilgrims a direct And short route to the Kartarpur shrine, where Guru Nanak breathed his last.

The Union Minister accompanied by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal surveyed the entire area from a forward Border Security Force (BSF) post from where the gurdwara is clearly visible. The Chief Minister had been pressing for this route and during a recent meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he had pointed out that the shrine at Kartarpur was very important for the Sikhs and they should be provided easy access to this important gurdwara.

'' The proposed corridor will be another landmark feature in Indo-Pakistan ties and the ongoing Confidence Building Measures intiated by the two neighbours'', Mr Mukherjee said in an informal chat with mediapersons here.

The Minister disclosed that he had discussed the corridor issue with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who too had expressed his support for establishing this important link with his country. Mr Mukherjee disclosed that he would again take up the matter with Mr Qureshi who is currently on a visit to India.

The Minister said that an expert group will be established to conduct a study and survey the likely route of the proposed corridor.

The Central Government is in favour of this corridor, he added.

Mr Badal briefed the Minister of the importance of this historic town on the banks of the Ravi river and the Kartarpur shrine just across the border. He pointed out that Sikhs who go on a pilgrimage to Pakistan do not get a chance to pay obeisance at Kartarpur as their visits are limited to Lahore, Panja Sahib and Nankana Sahib, where Guru Nanak was born.

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