A day after Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor at Mann village in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, Congress Cabinet Minister of Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu went to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the 4km project on the Pakistan side. The event will be held at Narowal, some 120 km from Lahore, on Wednesday. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone of the project. Most people have hailed India and Pakistan governments for initiating the project that will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Nariwal in Pakistan. But many also fear Pakistan could use it to promote separatist agenda or militancy in India.
Major developments so far
- The Union Cabinet approved the development project of the Kartarpur Corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to the international border with Pakistan. The corridor will facilitate pilgrims from India who visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, on the banks of the Ravi River in Pakistan every year.
- Sidhu, who missed the stone laying foundation in India on Monday, visited Pakistan on Imran Khan's invitation. He was greeted at the Wagah Border by officials of Pakistan's Punjab province. Sidhu said: "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.
- Terming Kartarpur as a "corridor of infinite possibilities", Sidhu also said such initiatives would promote peace and erase "enmity" between India and Pakistan.
- The corridor will provide visa-free access to the Indian Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara.
- The Pakistan government has reportedly said it would provide land for a railway station in Kartarpur and the construction of lodging and boarding facilities near all Sikh pilgrimage sites in the country. It would also provide land to Sikh organisations for the construction of hotels in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal, Dawn reported.
- The project, which was proposed by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999, marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, which falls in 2019. If connected on both sides, this could also provide a major tourism boost as more pilgrims would be able to visit the holy shrine throughout the year.
- Kartarpur is located in Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab. Guru Nanak Dev had spent over 18 years of his life here. The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located about three to 4km from the Indo-Pak border in Pakistan.