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Agencies
November 25, 2018

Imran to open Kartarpur corridor on 28th

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A
Agencies
November 25, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 28, announced Minister for Information Fawad Hussain here on Saturday.

He said the federal cabinet had also formally approved the opening of Kartarpur corridor to facilitate the Sikh community of India.

He said visa-free entry will be provided to the pilgrims from India and a mechanism in this regard was being finalised.

He remarked that the opening of Kartarpur corridor was a peace initiative of Pakistan to normalise relations with India because Islamabad wanted it to defeat poverty and this endeavor will be pursued with utmost sincerity.

The minister however said Pakistan could never forget the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the federal cabinet had also approved that smuggled mobile phones will be blocked through Device Identification Registration and Blocking System after December 31.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday invited Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur border crossing between India and Pakistan.

Qureshi said the groundbreaking ceremony [for opening the border crossing between the two countries] will be held on November 28.

Qureshi also invited the Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Amarinder Singh and former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu to the ceremony.

India Thursday gave the go-ahead to Pakistan’s proposal to build Kartarpur corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims wishing to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal District of Pakistan.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib holds religious significance for the Sikh community.

It is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until death in 1539.

Earlier in the day, Sidhu confirmed receiving an invitation from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan.

Speaking to Indian Express, Sidhu said, “I got a call from Pakistan Prime Minister’s office on Friday. It was the same person who had called me when I was invited for the swearing-in ceremony.”

“I will go if the Government of India allows me to. It will be a great honour to be a part of history. There will not be a happier moment than the time when my turban touches the ground where Guru Nanak Dev once walked. It was an unfulfilled wish of my parents,” he added.

Asked if he will attend the ceremony on the Indian side of the border on November 26, the Indian Punjab local bodies minister said, “I will certainly go if I am invited.”

The former cricketer has often spoken about the need for the two countries to have friendly relations. He visited the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan in August 2018.

During his visit, Sidhu also embraced Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, which invited vicious criticism and attacks by hardliners in India.

General Bajwa had told Sidhu that the Pakistan government was considering opening Dera Baba Nanak (Kartarpur) corridor on Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

The former Indian cricketer had later raised the matter with Swaraj, saying that it was India’s responsibility to make a formal request to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj Saturday excused from attending groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side of the border between the two countries.

“I thank HE Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, for inviting me to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the Pakistan side of the international boundary on 28 November 2018,” Sushma said on Twitter.

“Since I am unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib on the scheduled date, Government of India will be represented by my esteemed colleagues Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Mr. H. S. Puri.”

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