Islamabad, Nov 13, (Asia Free Press): Pakistan on Friday reiterated that the Kartarpur Corridor has officially been opened for the Sikh pilgrims desiring to join the approaching birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak beginning on November 17, and has urged the Indian authorities to open the corridor from its side.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said Monday, Pakistan also commemorated the second anniversary of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor-dubbed the ‘Corridor of Hope’ by the UN Secretary-General.
“We are all set to welcome thousands of devotees from India and around the world coming to Pakistan for the upcoming birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak from 17-26 November for which elaborate arrangements have been put in place,” Iftikhar said in his weekly press briefing.
The spokesperson noted with growing concern how minorities in India, particularly Muslims, were being systematically persecuted and ostracized under the Hindutva-driven ideology of the BJP-RSS combine.
Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has issued around 3000 visas to Indian Sikh Yatrees to participate in the 552nd Birth Anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak.
During their stay in Pakistan, the Sikh Yatrees would pay obeisance at different Gurdwaras including Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib and Gurdawara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.
The Indian government officials on Thursday sidestepped a question during a press briefing on the reopening of the Kartarpur Corridor and instead pointed out that it is permitting 1,500 pilgrims to travel to pay obeisance at religious shrines in Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah Integrated Check Post.
“In view of the significance of Gurpurb, it has been decided that one jatha of 1,500 will travel to religious shrines in Pakistan from November 17 to 26,” said India’s MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
A panel formed by a group of Sikh activists, has asked the Modi led Union government to reopen the Kartarpur corridor to mark the 552nd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 19, saying that it will internationalise their movement for the corridor’s opening if the demand is not met.
In the wake of Covid-19, both India and Pakistan temporarily stopped the pilgrimage and halted registration in March.
The pilgrimage was reopened in Islamabad later in October, but India refused to accept the gesture.
This year on the Sikh Guru’s birth anniversary, thousands of pilgrims waited to see if the Kartarpur Corridor would reopen, but Indian officials have so far refused to do so.