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Kartarpur ready to welcome Sikh pilgrims: Pakistan PM

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. File

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. File   | Photo Credit: AP

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Pictures of the complex were shared by Prime Minister Imran Khan on his Twitter account ahead of the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday shared pictures of the Kartarpur complex and the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, saying the revered venue is ready to welcome Sikhs pilgrims for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.

The pictures were shared by Mr. Khan on his Twitter account ahead of the planned inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9.

The year 2019 marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose birthplace is Sri Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

“Kartarpur [is] ready to welcome Sikh pilgrims,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he congratulated his own government for completing the construction work on time.

“I want to congratulate our govt. for readying Kartarpur, in record time, for Guru Nanakji’s 550th birthday celebrations,” he said.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had said Indian Sikh pilgrims coming to Kartarpur would not need a passport, while also waiving the service fee of $20 dollars for those coming for the inaugural ceremony and on the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh Guru on November 12.

The proposed opening of the corridor coincides with the presence of tens of thousands of protestors in the capital Islamabad. Leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman had demanded the resignation of Mr. Khan as a condition to disperse peacefully.

Meanwhile, Ahsan Iqbal, leader of the Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz (PML-N) and an ally of Mr. Rehman, on Saturday criticised Mr. Khan’s move to allow Sikhs from India to enter Pakistan without a passport.

Mr. Iqbal said the Kartarpur opening was a good gesture but “lifting the condition of a passport for foreigners like Indians was a blunder”.

The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. 

Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, after tough negotiations Pakistan and India signed a landmark agreement last week to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian-Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.

The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine everyday and that additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to the expansion of facilities by the Pakistani side.

India and Pakistan have also decided that the corridor will be operational through the year, seven days a week and that pilgrims, except children and elderly persons, will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:25:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/kartarpur-ready-to-welcome-sikh-pilgrims-pakistan-pm/article29869698.ece

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