Pakistan opens Kartarpur corridor

By Staff Reporter
Friday – November 15, 2019
NAROWAL: The Government of Pakistan (GoP), in a landmark ceremony marking the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak - the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus, inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor, the resting place of Guru Nanak, on Saturday.

According to detail, the phase one of Kartarpur corridor, completed in record 10 months time by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), comprised the extension of Gurdwara to a 10 acres complex with construction of barahdari, langar hall, Angetha Sahib, Sarowar, community washrooms, an administrative block, the residence of Granthi, parking area and the tiling of lawn — making it the world’s largest Gurdwara.

In addition, the phase one comprised, the construction of 4.7 kilometres (km) of dedicated expressways, including an 800-metre (2,600 feet) bridge over the River Ravi, the construction of border terminal at zero point and the basic polishing/shining of old Gurdwara building.

According to an official statement, prime minister (PM) Imran Khan, in a message, said, “I wish to congratulate the Sikh Community, residing on both sides of the border and the world over, on this historic day of inauguration of Kartarpur corridor” adding “The significance of this event for the Sikh community, on 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, can be well understood by the Muslims who know what it means to visit holy places.”

He mentioned, “The inauguration of Kartarpur corridor is a manifestation of the fact that our hearts are always open for the followers of different religions as enjoined by our great religion and envisioned by our father of the nation” adding “Today we are not only opening border but also our hearts for the Sikh community.”

PM Khan highlighted, “This unprecedented gesture of goodwill from the GoP is a reflection of our deep respect for Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji and religious sentiments of Sikh community who always wanted to have an easy access to the shrine of their spiritual leader and perform their religious obligations” adding “The inauguration today is also a testimony of our commitment towards peace of the region.”

He educated, “We believe that the road to prosperity of region and bright future of our coming generation lies in peace” adding “We believe that interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence will provide us an opportunity to work for larger interests of people of the sub-continent.”

PM Khan culminated, “While congratulating the Sikh community once again, I also wish to thank all those who contributed towards transforming this vision in reality in record time of 10 months only.”

Meanwhile, according to an Indian official statement, Indian PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the “integrated check post” and flagged off first batch of pilgrims at Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Gurdaspur, Indian Punjab on Saturday.

Indian PM took a guided tour of digital installation on life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and the “passenger terminal building” prior to the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor.

He also interacted with the first batch of pilgrims just before their departure to Pakistan.

The integrated check post will facilitate Indian pilgrims, to visit to Gurudwara Kartapur Sahib in Pakistan.

India signed the agreement with Pakistan on October 24th, 2019, on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor at zero point, international boundary, Dera Baba Nanak.

Earlier, according to an official statement, the agreement with India will facilitate visa free travel of 5,000 pilgrims daily (to be enhanced on special occasions, subject to capacity), in groups or individually, on foot or by bus to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur in Narowal, Pakistan, from dawn to dusk throughout the year, except on public holidays or for exigencies/emergencies, which will be notified to India in advance.

Pilgrims will travel on valid Indian passport, non resident Indians will also be required to carry their Indian origin cards.

Pakistan will charge $20 per pilgrim on every visit, as the service charge. 

The Government of India (GoI) will share pilgrim lists, 10 days in advance.

Pakistan will share the final list of pilgrims, four days in advance.

Advance exchange of pilgrim list will facilitate pilgrims allowing them to make plans in advance and providing sufficient time to both governments for processing.