Kartarpur corridor Pakistan event LATEST updates: Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan said that it is a historic day for both India and Pakistan as he pledged to improve the improve the facilities at the Kartarpur shrine.
"It took us over 70 years to get a chance to visit the holy Katarpur shrine," Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in an emotional address. Badal said that she has no friend or relative in the neighbouring country but still she has come across the border to pray at the holy Sikh shrine of Kartarpur Sahib.
Speaking at the Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony, Sidhu said that India's Constitution says do not discriminate on the basis of caste, color and creed. Congratulates India and Pakistan on special occasion.
Some reports said that a pro-Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla was seen with Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony. Also, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu seated himself next to Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and Pakistan finance minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar.
Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan unveiled the plaque of the Kartarpur corridor laying the foundation stone for its construction. Meanwhile, Indian minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal performed Sikh rituals at the event site.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti while hailing the Kartarpur corridor initiative said that, "After Kartarpur, Delhi and Pakistan must facilitate Sharda Peeth pilgrimage for Kashmiris." Sharda Peeth is an abandoned Hindu temple and ancient centre of learning along the Neelam River in the Sharda village of PoK.
Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor in a short while today. Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Indian ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu, Harsmirat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri will be present at the event.
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu tweeted upon his arrival in Pakistan as hoped for better relations between the neighbouring countries in the backdrop of the opening of the Kartarpur border. Sidhu upon landing hugged Pakistan Punjab governor Muhammad Sarwar.
Diplomats from several countries and several members of the Sikh from across the world have been invited for the groundbreaking ceremony. A group of 25 journalists from India too have been invited. According to reports, Pakistan's foreign ministry is running a special flight from Islamabad to ferry journalists to cover the Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony.
Just a short while before the Kartarpur corridor foundation stone-laying ceremony, Pakistan's Army confirmed that its Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will attend the event. The presence of the Army chief is going to raise concerns as India has been vocal about the Pakistani army's involvement in propagating terror attacks on its territory.
Speaking ahead of the Kartarpur corridor ceremony in Pakistan, MEA Sushma Swaraj said, "For many years the Indian government has been asking for the Kartarpur corridor, and it is only now that Pakistan has responded positively. But it doesn’t mean that the bilateral dialogue will start because of this. Terror and talks can’t go together." She said that even as her govt has given a nod to building the corridor and is happy for the initiative, India will not participate in the SAARC summit as some difficult inter-border issues still remain between the warring neighbours.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan government said that it is opening the Kartarpur corridor as a "goodwill gesture". People from both sides of the border are hoping that the opening of the corridor would lead to peace and harmony between the two neighbouring countries.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri before leaving for the Kartarpur corridor ceremony in Pakistan said that he feels extremely grateful and privileged to be able to make this pilgrimage. "This was a long-standing demand of the Sikh community," Puri said while addressing gratitude to the Pakistan government.
The Congress on Tuesday said it would not like to come in the way of the Kartarpur Corridor created by Pakistan to facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwaras across the border, but cautioned the Centre in dealing with the neighbouring country.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone for the much-awaited corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur — the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev — to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, on Wednesday.
Navjot Singh Sidhu will be the only state minister to make an appearance at the programme at Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's invitation, as Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh gave it a miss. Accompanying him would be MoS Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Union Minister for Food Processing and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsmirat Kaur Badal.
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. 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. The development comes ahead of Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary in 2019.
Imran Khan and Navjot Singh Sidhu at the kartarpur grounbreaking ceremony in Pakistan. Twitter/@PTIofficial
India has also said it will build and develop a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Sikh pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hoped that the Kartarpur Corridor would act as a bridge between the peoples of India and Pakistan that might lead to a better future as he referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall to underline the importance of people-to-people contact. Speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in New Delhi, Modi said the issues between the governments and the armies would continue and only time will show the way out.
Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The issue of Kartarpur Sahib came into focus after Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu visited Pakistan in August to attend the oath-taking ceremony of his cricketer-turned-politician friend Imran Khan as prime minister of that country. After his return, Sidhu said that Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had told him that Pakistan may open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib. Sidhu has already arrived in Lahore with a group of Indian journalists to attend the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday.
The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016. Sidhu has termed the Kartarpur Corridor as a "corridor of infinite possibilities" and said such initiatives would promote peace and erase "enmity" between India and Pakistan. "The seed Imran Khan had sown three months ago has become a plant. It is a happy moment for the Sikh community that the corridor to reach Kartarpur to get Baba Guru Nanak's blessing without any hassle," he told the media. "Karturpur corridor will prove to be a path of peace,” Sidhu added.
On Monday, Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Gurdaspur. Pakistan had invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who thanked her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi for the invite and said she was unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments. India will send Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri to Pakistan Wednesday to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor in Kartarpur