The historic town of Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, bordering Pakistan, will witness history being made on Saturday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi opens the Kartarpur Corridor and flags off the first lot of pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The first-of-its-kind occasion in 72 years is to mark the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev that falls on November 12.
Meanwhile, Pakistan PM Imran Khan will inaugurate the corridor on the Pakistani side and receive the Indian Sikh pilgrims including former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The Kartarpur Corridor connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib — also called Kartarpur Sahib — the last resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, in Narowal district in Pakistan.
Before the inauguration ceremony, Modi will pay obeisance at Ber Sahib Gurudwara at Sultanpur Lodhi, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday.
The inauguration of the ICP check post will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
India had signed an agreement with Pakistan on October 24 on the modalities for operationalization of the corridor at ‘Zero Point’ of the international boundary at Dera Baba Nanak, the statement said.
The first batch of pilgrims includes former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former CM Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and Navjot Singh Sidhu. SGPC members and all the 117 MLAs and MPs from Punjab including ministers are also part of the ‘jatha’.
India and Pakistan had last month signed an agreement to operationalize the 4.2 km Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian pilgrims a visa-free visit to the holy gurdwara, believed to have been built on the site where Guru Nanak died in the 16th century, and located some 4 km inside Pakistan.
Though the ticklish issue of a $20 service fee imposed by Islamabad remained unresolved, India signed the deal in the interest of the pilgrims and timely operationalization of the Corridor before the celebrations.
(Courtesy: India Today)