Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday agreed to India's decision to open the Kartarpur corridor, saying PM Imran Khan will break ground to develop passage between Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur and the shrine on 28 November. The significant move will mark the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak with scores of people from the Sikh community visiting Pakistan on this auspicious occasion.
"Pakistan has already conveyed to India it's decision to open Kartarpur Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. PM Imran Khan will do break ground at Kartarpur facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion," Qureshi wrote on Twitter.
Pakistan has already conveyed to India it's decision to open Kartarpura Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. PM Imran Khan will do break ground at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion.— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) November 22, 2018
Qureshi's statement came hours after the Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared a proposal for building and developing the Kartarpur corridor to provide easy passage for Sikh pilgrims to the historic gurdwara in Pakistan.
There are also reports that President Ram Nath Kovind and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will lay the foundation stone for Kartarpur Corridor at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur, on November 26.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh will lay the foundation stone for Kartarpur Corridor at Dera Baba Nank, Gurdaspur, on November 26. (file pics) pic.twitter.com/QUAyJYTzbT— ANI (@ANI) November 22, 2018
Kartarpur is located in Shakargarh in Narowal district, about three to four km from the Indo-Pak border in Pakistan. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent over 18 years of his life at Shakargarh.
Early in the day, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India has approached the Pakistani government to recognise the sentiments of the Sikh community and build the corridor, in keeping with the resolution adopted by the Cabinet Thursday to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
In response, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan's efforts were continuing and it has already issued 3,838 visas to Indian Sikhs to attend religious ceremonies in Pakistan.
Faisal also accused India of refusing Imran Khan's proposal to hold talks on all issues, including Katarpur corridor earlier in the year. "We on our part will continue our efforts but we cannot do much unless there is a response from the other side," Mr Faisal said.
Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been pitching for the opening of Kartarpur corridor for a quite long time now also welcomed the auspicious step by the Union Cabinet, saying "it will be a cup of joy for 12 crore 'Nanak Naam Laivas'. It will build bridges, burn animosity and will act as a soothing balm for two neighbouring countries".
"I thank the Govt of India from the core of my heart and take a bow! I request the Hon'ble PM of Pakistan @ImranKhanPTI Sahib to take reciprocal steps for opening the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and spread Baba Nanak's message of universal brotherhood and peace across the Globe," Sidhu tweeted.
Sidhu had earlier raised this issue with Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in connection with the opening of Kartarpur corridor. He had said it was the responsibility of the Indian government to make a formal request to Pakistan for it.