Kartarpur corridor: Imran Khan lays foundation stone in Pakistan
Islamabad, Nov 28: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of Kartarpur corridor on Wednesday. The corridor will link Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak, and the international border with India, facilitating Sikh pilgrims across the border.
Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died.
Pakistan Minister of Information Fawad Choudhary and Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa attended the foundation stone laying ceremony.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was also invited for the event by Pakistan. However, she expressed her inability to attend the same. The government of India sent Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and HS Puri for the ceremony. Besides, Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu also attended the event.
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who represented the Indian government at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan, said Wednesday the corridor was anchored in hope and goodwill but there is need to be conscious of ground realities.
Puri, along with Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, crossed over to the neighbouring country through Attari-Wagah land route in Amritsar to attend the ceremony.
Puri, the Union minister of state (independent charge) of Housing and Urban Affairs, told reporters at Attari in Amritsar district before crossing to Pakistan that the long pending demand of the Sikh community has been met.
A huge stage - 20 feet in width and 60 feet in length - has been constructed for the ground-breaking ceremony. The construction work of the corridor is expected to begin shorty after the ground-breaking ceremony.
The work on the Indian side began on Monday after a formal ceremony.
The Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, is expected to be completed within six months, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Tuesday.
What is Kartarpur corridor?
Three kilometers from the Indian-Pakistan border, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur is built at the resting place of Guru Nanak. He assembled a Sikh community and lived here for 18 years until his death in 1539.
However, Indian are not allowed to visit the shrine and therefore, the corridor would allow devotees to walk to the shrine and return in a day without a passport or a visa.