Punjab CM, Ministers visit shrine in Pakistan via Kartarpur corridor

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, along with a few of his Cabinet Ministers on Thursday visited Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib across the international border, in Pakistan, via the Kartarpur corridor, which has reopened since after remaining closed for about 20 months.

Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, however, was not part of the CM’s delegation, raising eyebrows in political circles. The Chief Minister was accompanied by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal; Public Works Department Minister Vijay Inder Singla; MLAs Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Barindermeet Singh Pahra, among others.

As the Congress party’s State unit, which has been suffering from rifts and chaos on account of alleged differences between Mr. Channi and Mr. Sidhu, continues to look for stability ahead of the 2022 Assembly election due early next year, Mr. Sidhu’s absence from the Chief Minister’s delegation has only added to the ongoing bedlam in the party, indicating a fresh tussle among the two leaders.

Mr. Channi, after returning from Kartarpur, urged the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan to simplify the procedure for obtaining permission to visit Kartarpur Sahib. “This is a historic occasion as the corridor has been reopened after the pandemic. However, it is the need of the hour that both the national governments of India and Pakistan should make concerted efforts for simplifying the process to enable pilgrims for obtaining permission to pay reverence at this holy shrine,” he said.

Batting for the opening of cross-border trade from Punjab’s borders, the CM said that both India and Pakistan should deliberate on re-starting trade and commerce. Mr. Channi expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan for taking the “historic initiative of reopening the corridor”.

The movement of devotees to Kartarpur, located across the international border in Pakistan, through the corridor, was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Union Government had announced the reopening of the Kartarpur corridor ahead of ‘Prakash Purb’ (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev.

The Kartarpur corridor connects the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, which is situated in Pakistan’s Narowal district, across the Ravi river, with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district. It was in Kartarpur that Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 5:13:18 PM |

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