PM Imran Khan may open Kartarpur border for India's Sikhs
In what may be seen as an attempt by Pakistan to mend ties with India, the country may open Kartarpur border for Indians giving Sikh pilgrims access to historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. The corridor may be opened on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November. This announcement was made by Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu who attended Imran Khan's swearing-in ceremony.
For a long time, the Sikh body SGPC has been urging for opening the corridors between Gurdaspur's Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan's Narowal district. They even approached Union Minister Rajnath Singh for the same. Notably, after partition, India got two out of the three historical gurudwaras. The third one, Kartarpur Sahib, in Pakistan was where Guru Nanak Dev (Sikhism founder) spent his last days.
After his brief meeting with Pakistan's Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Sidhu said he received a precious gift without even asking. "Gen Bajwa hugged me and said they were thinking of opening the Kartarpur route during Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary celebrations," Sidhu added. At the oath-taking ceremony, that Sidhu attended as a friend, he sat next to PoK President Masood Khan.
"It's our duty that we go back and ask our government to take a step ahead and I hope if we take one step forward, people here will take two steps forward," Sidhu told reporters after the ceremony.
Sidhu's presence at the ceremony stirred a controversy back home. BJP's Punjab Chief Shwait Malik asked him to apologize, "Sidhu's actions have put the country's dignity at risk." SAD and AAP joined the chorus and said Sidhu's actions were against 'national interest'. Haryana health minister called it an 'act of disloyalty'. Interestingly, Congress J&K Chief Ghulam Ahmed said Sidhu could have avoided it.