Kashmir Indepth

Indian ministers, foreign diplomats arrive for Kartarpur corridor groundbreaking ceremony

Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the groundbreaking of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district today.

The event will be attended by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, government officials, Indian ministers, and foreign diplomats.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, before leaving for Kartarpur, hailed the groundbreaking as a monumental event “which will open many opportunities for both Pakistan and India”, Radio Pakistan reported.

The Pakistan government had invited three Indian politicians, including Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, and 17 journalists and editors from across the border for the event.

While Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh declined to attend the groundbreaking with thanks, former Indian cricketer Sidhu accepted the invitation.

The Indian delegation — comprising minister for food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, minister for housing Hardeep S. Puri and Sidhu — were received by officials of the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) at the Wagah border on Tuesday. Some journalists from India also reached Lahore through the border.

“The corridor will bring peace and prosperity for the people of both countries and it will also prove to be a foundation stone of brotherhood,” Sidhu said while addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club.

On Monday, Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.

The Pakistan government will open the four-kilometre-long corridor on the Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. This year — for the 549th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak — the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi issued over 3,500 visas to Sikh pilgrims who wished to attend the celebrations.

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