Will invite Manmohan Singh for Kartarpur event: Pakistan
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday announced that the country has decided to extend an invitation to former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor, which is scheduled to be opened in November.
The office of the former Indian Prime Minister said it was yet to receive any invite so far. “Will decide at that point of time if invited,” a close aide of Singh said.
“Kartarpur corridor is an important project, the prime minister has a personal interest in it,” said Qureshi in a video message.
The foreign minister also invited Sikh pilgrims from India in his message, saying: “We also await the Sikh yatris [...] to come and take part in the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.”
“After consultations, Pakistan has decided to invite Manmohan Singh, who we hold in high regard, to the inauguration,” Qureshi said. “He will represent the Sikh community.”
“On behalf of the government, as the foreign minister of Pakistan, I invite him to attend the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor, “ he added, saying that a formal written invitation was on its way.
India and Pakistan are working on the Kartarpur corridor to connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (Pakistan). Both are holy cities for the Sikhs and closely associated with the religion’s founder Guru Nanak.
A senior Congress functionary said it is unlikely that Singh will accept the invite. “As India’s Prime Minister for 10 years, Dr Manmohan Singh did not visit the neighbouring country despite repeated invitations and the fact that his birth place is in Pakistan. It is highly unlikely that he will accept the invitation now,” he said.
Pakistani project director Atif Majeed had said the visa-free border crossing from India to Kartarpur, Pakistan, would be inaugurated on Nov 9, just ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak on Nov 12. It was also announced that Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims a day from India to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur corridor.