Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor. In his statement on Pakistan’s Capital TV, Qureshi said, “I have invited former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. I am thankful to him that he wrote me a letter and said, ‘I will come, but not as the chief guest but as a common man’.” Qureshi said that if he visits Pakistan as a common pilgrim, “we will welcome him”.
Qureshi, Amarinder issue mutually contradictory statements
Earlier, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan had formally invited Manmohan Singh for the inauguration ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor to be held in November. The corridor is to be inaugurated on 9 November.
Meanwhile, it was claimed that Manmohan Singh had accepted Pakistan’s invitation to attend the opening ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor. Before that, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had made it clear that the former Prime Minister would not go to Pakistan for the inauguration ceremony.
A spokesman had issued a clarification on the matter, saying that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would join the first Sikh batch to visit Kartarpur Sahib on 9 November. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh invited Manmohan Singh to join the batch, which was accepted by the former Prime Minister.
Pakistan insists on charging Indian pilgrims
On 16 October, Pakistan sent the final draft of its Kartarpur Corridor proposal to India. Pakistan is adamant on taking Pakistani Rs 3,120 ($ 20) from Indian Sikh pilgrims. According to the draft, everyone can use the Kartarpur Corridor without any restrictions.
India has to submit a list of pilgrims to Pakistan at least 10 days in advance as per the draft. Pakistan will reply to the list in four days. All passengers going to Kartarpur Sahib will be given the facility of transportation to Zero Point.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, also called Kartarpur Sahib, is a gurdwara in Kartarpur, Narowal District, Pakistan. It is built on the historic site where Guru Nanak settled and assembled the Sikh commune after his missionary travels. The present gurdwara is built on the site where Guru Nanak died on 22 September 1539.
The gurdwara is notable also for its location near the border between Pakistan and India. The shrine is visible from the Indian side of the border. For years together, Sikhs from India gather in large numbers on the Indian side of the border to look at the site and assume they are having a “darshan” (the sight of a deity). Those who can undertake the journey can visit the site and its interiors physically once the Kartarpur Corridor opens.