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When opportunity knocks, open the door, Sidhu writes to Sushma on Kartarpur Corridor

The minister has urged “make every possible effort” to accept the offer by the Pakistan government to open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.

punjab Updated: Sep 09, 2018 21:22 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Navjot Singh Sidhu,Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara,Sushma Swaraj
It’s time for India to take a positive step on this highly emotional issue, said the minister in his letter.

Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has written to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj urging her to “make every possible effort” to accept the offer by the Pakistan government to open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara so that Sikhs from India can pay obeisance at the historic shrine on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November 2019.

“It’s time for India to take a positive step on this highly emotional issue. When opportunity knocks, kindly step up and open the door. The opening of this corridor will be a huge thing for the Sikh community all over the world. Even though both neighbours have had sour relations for decades, opening of the corridor can usher in peace and prosperity between the two countries,” Sidhu said in his letter to the external affairs minister.

The historic gurdwara at Kartarpur, located around 5km from the India-Pakistan international border in Narowal district of Pakistan Punjab province and opposite the border belt in Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district, holds monumental significance for the Sikhs as it is associated with Sikhism’s first master Guru Nanak. The gurdwara is revered by the Sikhs because it was there that Guru Nanak spent 17 years of his life until his death in 1539.

Devotees from the Indian side can see the Kartarpur gurdwara while standing on a high place constructed along the border, with the help of a telescope under the surveillance of the Border Security Force (BSF). There have been demands from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Sikh leaders time and again to build a corridor to enable pilgrims to visit the gurdwara.

On Friday, Pakistan information minister Fawad Chaudhry in an interview to BBC Urdu had said the Kartarpur border crossing with India will be soon opened for Sikh pilgrims to visit a historic gurdwara without visas. Chaudhry said a system was being developed for Sikhs to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur and “soon some forward movement is expected”.

Sidhu had faced flak after he returned from the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad last month where he was seen hugging Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Defending his hug with Bajwa, Sidhu had said that he was overwhelmed when told that Pakistan was making efforts to allow access to Kartarpur Sahib.

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 21:22 IST