Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated Kartarpur corridor that connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Punjab with Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Narowal district. Modi flagged off the first batch of over 500 Indian pilgrims led by Akal Takhat Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib through the corridor, which was thrown open to public on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The prime minister inaugurated the passenger terminal building of the corridor on the Indian side, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built 4.5 km-long corridor.
The first batch of pilgrims include former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Akal Takht jathedar Harpreet Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former CM Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu. SGPC members and all the 117 MLAs and MPs from Punjab including ministers are also part of the 'jatha'.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi thanked his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan for understanding India's sentiment on the issue of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. “I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan Niazi for respecting the sentiments of India,” said PM Modi at the Gurdaspur Gurudwara.
Asserting that he is fortunate to be able to dedicate the Kartarpur corridor to the country, he said the opening of the corridor and the integrated check post will bring double happiness to the people. "We have become irresponsible about the environment," the prime minister said.
India had signed an agreement with the neighbouring nation on October 24 on the modalities for operationalisation of the corridor at 'Zero Point' of the international boundary at Dera Baba Nanak, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the five-day festival on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev began in Dera Baba Nanak and Sultanpur Lodhi on Friday and will conclude on November 12.