Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Photo Credit: PTI)
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh would not attend the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan but would go there as a common pilgrim, sources close to him said on Sunday after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed that he has accepted his invitation to attend the scheduled opening.
Qureshi told reporters in his hometown Multan on Saturday that Singh has accepted his invitation and would attend the scheduled opening on November 9 as a common man rather than as a special guest, Dawn newspaper reported.
Sources close to Singh in New Delhi said that the former prime minister would not attend the former inauguration ceremony.
In a letter in response to the invite sent to him by Pakistani authorities, Singh has said he would not attend the formal inauguration but would visit the historic shrine as a common pilgrim, sources said.
Singh would be a part of Sikh Jatha delegation led by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. They will pay obeisance at the shrine and would return on the same day.
The proposed corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.
Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan would inaugurate Pakistan’s part of the corridor, facilitating pilgrimage of 5,000 Indian Sikhs every day to their holy place.