Kartarpur Corridor: ‘Real Heros', ‘Hidden agenda' and the first invitee
New Delhi, Nov 06: The 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, a purely religious event, is now being used by leaders to further their political agenda. The highlight of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's 550th birth anniversary celebrations is the inauguration of historic Kartarpur Corridor on November 9.
Kartarpur Corridor for which both India and Pakistan agreed was a long pending demand of the Sikhs. It is considered a significant development as cooperation between the two countries is rare.
Last year, Imran Khan had invited Navjot Singh Sidhu for the foundation stone laying for corridor. Sidhu then attended the function in his personal capacity. Sidhu then courted controversy by hugging Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Sidhu had then claimed that Gen Bajwa had told him about "making efforts to open the Kartarpur corridor".
Sidhu, after returning from Pakistan, urged then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to send a formal request to Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor. Sidhu had then said he told Swaraj to request Pakistan to open up a corridor for Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had lashed out at Sidhu, and said that former EAM Swaraj reprimanded Sidhu for " messing up Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue and misusing political clearance granted for a private visit by hugging military Chief responsible for killing our soldiers.
Days before the inauguration of the corridor, hoardings of Navjot Singh Sidhu and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared in Amritsar. The hoardings, which have now been taken down, thanked Sidhu and Khan for Kartarpur Corridor. The hoardings, which appeared on Tuesday afternoon, described Sidhu and Khan as "real-Heros" who made Kartarpur corridor a reality.
In fact, Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Punjab minister, is said to be the first Indian politician to receive the first invitation card from Pakistan for the Kartarpur Corridor's opening ceremony. Sidhu's invitation card reportedly bears number 001. It was sent by Pakistan PM from Imran Khan two days ago.
Earlier, the process involved applying for visa then entering through Lahore and then travel to Kartarpur corridor. Sidhu was slammed by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Akali Dal in Punjab, and was criticised even by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for hugging the General
Then later, India and Pakistan decided to build a corridor between the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, Punjab. Sidhu on Wednesday sought permission from the External Affairs Ministry for the second time to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan on November 9.
The hoardings, which surfaced on Tuesday, credited the cricketer-turned-politicians for making the Kartarpur Corridor a reality. Last week, Sidhu had written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh seeking permission to attend the inaguration.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Sidhu have been at the loggerheads on several occasions. The Chief Minister, when asked about posters, said that Navjot Singh Sidhu can only explain about the posters in Amritsar.
"It is entirely up to Sidhu to explain about these posters. I do not want to explain as he can tell us better on this matter. He had sought permission from me to visit Pakistan. I have forwarded his request to the Ministry of External Affairs. Now it is for the Ministry whether to allow him to visit Pakistan or not," Chief Minister Singh told media persons.
Singh said that Pakistan has a "hidden agenda" behind the opening of Kartarpur corridor. "I have been maintaining for long that Pakistan has a hidden agenda."
The Kartarpur Corridor was approved by the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 22 November, 2018.
A year on, after much deliberations and diplomatic roadblocks between the governments of India and Pakistan, the corridor will finally be opened in a grand ceremony on 9 November.
Significance of Kartarpur Corridor:
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, is considered to be the second holiest site for Sikhism, the first one being Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak was born.
The present shrine was built in 1925 after the original one was destroyed by floods.
This was later restored by the Pakistani government in 2004.
The shrine was built to commemorate the site where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.
The Kartarpur Sahib is one of the holiest shrines for the Sikhs.