The Tribune – Amid corridor buzz, Nankana Sahib gurdwara draws sea of devotees

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 12 November 2019. A large number of Sikh pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara Janamasthan Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak, to mark his 550 birth anniversary today.

The Sikhs carried out a ‘palki’ from the shrine and moved to eight other smaller gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib city. The pilgrims from India, Canada, the US, the UK, the UAE and different parts of Pakistan gathered at the Gurdwara and performed religious rituals.

Federal Interior Minister Ijaz Shah said Sikhs expressed joy over the arrangements regarding the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak and opening of the Kartarpur Corridor project.

The corridor was thrown open by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit one of Sikhs’ holiest shrines in the Pakistani town of Narowal. The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan President Arif Alvi addressed the Sikhs at the Governor’s House in Lahore where Governor Sarwar had invited some 2,000 Sikh pilgrims, who had come from different parts of the world, including India, for a luncheon, Dawn News reported.

Alvi said Sikhs would be welcomed in Pakistan and doors would remain wide open for them at every occasion. He lauded Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee led by Chaudhry Sarwar for making arrangement for the corridor opening ceremony and for arrangements made for the birth anniversary celebrations.

“Pakistan is advocating love and peace as wars are not the solution to issues, which could be resolved through dialogues,” he said. Governor Sarwar said, “Pakistan is a safe country for minorities and it is working for restoration of religious places of not only the Sikh community but also other minorities including Christians and Hindus”.

Notwithstanding their strained ties, India and Pakistan signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor.

According to the pact, Pakistan will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. Guru Nanak Dev spent last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world’s largest Sikh Gurdawara.

Now, turn of guru’s birthplace, says Yogi

Lucknow – UP – India, 12 November 2019. UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said that after the Kartarpur Corridor, it was the turn of Nankana Sahib to open its door for the people of this country. “I extend my good wishes to you and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ensuring the opening of Kartarpur Corridor.

The day is not far when we will be able to visit Nankana Sahib too,” he said at a function to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Nankana Sahib is a city in Pakistan in which Guru Nanak was born. He said the teachings of Guru Nanak were spread across several countries.

The Statesman – Kartarpur corridor, Respond to Pakistan’s gesture, Sidhu urges Centre

“They (Pakistan) are ready to open the corridor of Kartarpur Sahib on the 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Ji. There can be no bigger happiness than this for the people of Punjab,” said Sidhu.

Ranjeet Jamwal

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 08 September 2018. Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to open the Kartarpur border with India for the access of Sikh pilgrims and urged the Centre to reciprocate this ‘noble gesture’ of the new government in the neighbouring country.

“They (Pakistan) are ready to open the corridor of Kartarpur Sahib on the 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Ji. There can be no bigger happiness than this for the people of Punjab,” said Sidhu.

The cricketer-turned-politician said Pakistan had travelled “miles” in return to “one step” taken by him (by his recent trip to Islamabad for new Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath ceremony and demanding opening of Kartarpur corridor).

Quoting a tweet by Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry announcing Pakistan will soon open the Kartar Singh border for Sikh pilgrims and allow them to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur without having to obtain a visa and a system has been formed for the pilgrims entering Pakistan, Sidhu said the step is unprecedented and the corridor is yet to be opened since Partition in 1947.

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, a historic Sikh pilgrimage where Guru Nanak, the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, is said to have settled there after his travels, is about four kilometers from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur. The 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, who breathed his last in Kartarpur, is being observed in November 2019.

Sidhu had courted controversy during his visit to Pakistan when he hugged the Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He termed the ‘hug’ as an “emotional” moment as General Bajwa had told him that they were making efforts to open the corridor from India’s Dera Baba Nanak to the Sikh shrine of Kartarpur Sahib.

When asked about the reports that Bajwa in his speech at Pakistan’s 53rd Defence Day on Thursday vowed to avenge the blood flowing on the border, Sidhu refused to comment and said it was not the time for petty politics.

On the charge that he was interfering in India’s foreign policy by taking up the Kartarpur corridor issue directly with Pakistan and thanking its leadership for the latest decision, Sidhu said he went to Pakistan in the personal capacity after getting the due clearances and it was for the Indian government to take a decision in the matter. “I have made a humble request. If there’s peace, this bloodshed (on borders) will come to an end,” he said.

Sidhu said he has no words to thank Pakistan PM Imran Khan for his decision to keep politics separate from religion. Sidhu expressed the hope that the decision will lessen the gap between the two countries.

“I plead to the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Ministry that if they have made an effort, you should also make an effort,” he said, adding that this “is not the time for religion-based politics”. “This is the message from Pakistan to the whole world. Don’t think that anyone can oppose this noble gesture,” Sidhu said.