JALANDHAR, Punjab—Taking a new step forward to maintain peace and harmony in the region, India and Pakistan are all set to open the Kartarpur border corridor between the two nations to provide access to Indian pilgrims to visit the historic shrine of Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.
The shrine, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikh faith is located across Ravi river in Pakistan and is about four kilometers from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine on the Indian side. The corridor, once built, will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the shrine in Kartarpur.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited Indian cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to Pakistan to attend the ground breaking ceremony of Kartarpur border corridor with India on November 28.
Meanwhile Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and President Ramnath Kovind will do the same on the Indian side on November 26. This comes a day after India and Pakistan agreed to construct the corridor to facilitate the Indian devotees to visit the historic shrine during the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
Sidhu had caused controversy following a hug with Pakistan's army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa during the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan.
Even though he tried to justify the 'hug' saying that both belong to 'Jatt' community from Punjab and he did it after getting an assurance to open the Kartarpur Corridor, it did not go well with his own party leaders as Punjab Chief minister too expressed his displeasure by stating that he has forgotten the sacrifices of Indian soldiers.
Claiming it to be a result of the controversial Hug', Sidhu has written a letter to Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
"It has been a long standing demand of the Sikh community across the globe and a step in this direction has brought a new ray of hope among pilgrims who anxiously await to pay obeisance at the historical Gurudwara Sahib across the border," Sidhu wrote to Swaraj.
It was India's former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who first proposed the Corridor in 1999 when he took the first bus to Lahore. Though following the tensions between the two nations, it got shelved in between.
However, recently the issue was brought again when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Indian cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for his oath ceremony.