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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

Pakistan announces Kartarpur corridor work will continue

The corridor will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district and is to be completed in time for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2019 08:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Heavy machines at work beyond the border fence for the construction of the Indian side of Kartarpur
Heavy machines at work beyond the border fence for the construction of the Indian side of Kartarpur (PTI)
         

The Kartarpur corridor project will continue as scheduled, Pakistan announced on Thursday, a day after it announced a slew of retaliatory actions in response to India’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under Article 370.

“The Kartarpur initiative will continue,” Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

The corridor will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district and is to be completed in time for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, in November. The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur.

At the weekly media briefing, foreign office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said the Kartarpur initiative would continue, notwithstanding the latest developments. On Wednesday, Pakistan had mounted a diplomatic offensive over the nullification of Article 370, expelling the Indian envoy, suspending bilateral trade and downgrading bilateral ties.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), a statutory board that manages religious properties and shrines of Hindus and Sikhs who migrated to India after Partition, and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) said there was no question of blocking corridor work at this stage. “The latest developments between the two neighbouring countries will have no impact on the corridor project,” said ETPB chairman Amir Ahmad.

PSGPC member Minpal Singh said preparations are in full swing for celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and opening of the corridor. “Irrespective of the present circumstances, the PSGPC and ETPB will welcome Sikh pilgrims from India with open arms,” he said.

“The opening of the corridor was a long-pending demand of the Sikhs and we will not let the simmering tension between India and Pakistan affect the project. The work on the corridor will be completed before November,” he added.

“We are getting full support from our government. The Pakistan government, through the ETPB, has recently opened the doors of historic Chowa Sahib Gurdwara in Jhelum district after 72 years. The ETPB is also in the process of opening Gurdwara Khara Sahib located at Gujranwala in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The shrine is related to sixth Sikh master, Guru Hargobind,” Singh said.

According to reports, 90% work on the Kartarpur corridor, including the construction of the main road, bridge and buildings from zero line to the gurdwara, has been completed by Pakistan.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Aug 08, 2019 23:38 IST

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