The Government of Pakistan has fulfilled a long-awaited demand of the Sikh community and Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to inaugurate today the extended Gurdwara Darbar Sahib and the Kartarpur Corridor.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, situated in Kartarpur, is the second holiest place for the Sikh community. This is 120 km away from Lahore and situated in a small village of Kotheypind at the bank of River Ravi — at a distance of only 4 km from Pakistan-India border.
This village is included in Shakargarh tehsil of Narowal district and the beautiful white Gurdwara looks elegantly placed between the grasslands.
It has been said in the agreement reached between Pakistan and India that daily five thousand Sikh yatris (pilgrims) will be allowed to visit the Gurdwara through the Corridor.
To facilitate the Sikh yatris, the government has installed 130 counters, where their passports will be confirmed or scanned, and permit will be verified.
Pilgrims will be charged $20 each under service charges. However, they will be exempted from paying the charges on the day of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
After their immigration process is completed, the pilgrims will reach the Gurdwara by bus through the 4km-long Corridor.
Watch: Kartarpur Corridor inauguration
FM Qureshi addresses Kartarpur Corridor inauguration
Addressing the inauguration ceremony Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said today was a historic moment.
“Imran Khan has created history with Kartarpur Corridor,” Qureshi said. “Kartarpur has been opened for Sikhs from all over world,” he added.
PM Imran arrives for Kartarpur Corridor inauguration
Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Kartarpur for the inauguration ceremony of the corridor.
The premier arrived from Islamabad via Sialkot and was accompanied by Special Assistant on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, Senator Javed Khan, Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari and other officials.
Navjot Singh Sidhu arrives for inauguration
Indian cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu arrived for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday.
Earlier, Indian authorities had barred Sidhu from entering Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border.
Manmohan Singh arrives for Kartarpur inauguration
Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Pakistan via Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday.
“Today is a historic moment for the Sikh community,” Singh said on arrival. “Opening of the corridor will help improve relations between Pakistan and India.”
Indian Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also arrived via Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan for the inauguration.
Sikh yatrees arrive for Karatarpur inauguration
Members of the Sikh community continue to arrive from all over the world for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor.
Sidhu stopped from entering Pakistan through Wagah
Indian authorities on Saturday barred cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu from entering Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border, sources said.
According to sources, despite having a five-day visa the Indian authorities at Attari stopped the cricketer from entering Pakistan.
Sources added Sidhu will now enter Pakistan from Kartarpur.
Modi thanks PM Imran ‘cooperation’ on visa-free Sikh corridor
Indian Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday for his “cooperation” on a visa-free corridor allowing Indian Sikhs to visit one of their religion´s holiest sites across the border in Pakistan.
“I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, for respecting the sentiments of India. I thank him for his cooperation,” Modi said in televised comments from the inauguration of the corridor on the Indian side of the border.
Pakistani, Indian journalist on way to Kartarpur
Kartarpur Corridor testimony of Pakistan’s commitment to regional peace: PM Imran
In a message on the occasion of Kartarpur Corridor’s opening, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor was a testimony of Pakistan’s commitment to regional peace.
The PM said we believe that the road to prosperity of region and bright future of our coming generation lies in peace.
Congratulating the Sikh community on both sides of the border and the world over on the historic day, PM Imran said the significance of the event for the Sikh community, on 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, could be well understood by Muslims who knew what it meant to visit the holy places.
He said the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor was 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 the Father of the Nation.
The premier said today we were not only opening border but also our hearts for the Sikh community.
He said unprecedented gesture of goodwill from the Government of Pakistan was a reflection of its deep respect for Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji and religious sentiments of the Sikh community.
The prime minister said Pakistan believes that interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence would provide an opportunity to work for larger interests of the people of the sub-continent.
‘This land is sacred’
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will see off the first group of pilgrims later Saturday and they will be welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the shrine.
The deal allows for up to 5,000 pilgrims a day to cross.
Pakistan has employed hundreds of labourers to spruce up the shrine, including building a border immigration checkpoint and a bridge, as well as expanding the site’s grounds.
Who is attending the historic event?
From India, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu will arrive for the inauguration ceremony as the government of Pakistan granted him a visa on Thursday.
Bollywood actor Sunny Deol and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh are expected to attend the ground breaking ceremony on November 9.