Historic Kartarpur Corridor Opens Today
By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 09, Nov 2019, 9:04 am IST | UPDATED: 09, Nov 2019, 9:05 am IST
Delhi: Thousands of Sikh pilgrims eagerly await the formal inauguration of the historic Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, a 4.7 kilometre long passage that connects Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India's Gurdaspur and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur, scheduled for Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan separately inaugurate the cross-border pathway in their respective countries.The landmark corridor is being inaugurated amidst tight security in the backdrop of tension between the two countries over the Kashmir issue.
The passage shall be open three days ahead of 550th anniversary of founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.Prime Minister Modi will flag off the first batch of over 500 Indian pilgrims that will travel to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province through the Kartarpur corridor, which is being thrown open days ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.
Khan will inaugurate the corridor on the Pakistani side and receive the Indian Sikh pilgrims including former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
PM Modi will also inaugurate passenger terminal building, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the corridor. A 300 feet National Flag has been hoisted at the International Border. The state-of-the-art Passenger Terminal Building is on 15 acres land. The fully airconditioned building akin to an airport has over 50 immigration counters for facilitating about 5000 pilgrims a day. It has all the necessary public amenities like kiosks, washrooms, childcare, first aid medical facilities, prayer room and snacks counters inside the main building.Major names in the first batch:
The first batch of pilgrims includes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and her husband former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and several ministers, MPs and MLAs from Punjab who travel to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib through the Kartarpur Corridor.
Giani Harpreet Singh, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, will lead the Indian delegation as the religious leader.No service charge on inauguration day:
Already there have been mixed signals from Pakistan on the requirement of passports for the visiting pilgrims from India using the corridor. Pakistani authorities have also retracted the USD 20 service charge waiver for the inauguration day on Saturday.
Earlier, sources in New Delhi said Pakistan has conveyed to India that pilgrims using the Kartarpur corridor on Saturday will also have to pay the USD 20 service fee, going back on its promise.
In another U-turn hours later, Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan will not collect any service charge from Indian pilgrims on November 9 and 12.