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PM Modi inaugurates Kartarpur corridor, flags off first batch of pilgrims

PTI Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdsapur) | Updated on November 09, 2019 Published on November 09, 2019

PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

The first batch of pilgrims included Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor, flagging off the first batch of over 500 Indian pilgrims here, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in this Punjab district.

Modi flagged off the first batch of pilgrims led by Akal Takhat Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib through the corridor, which was thrown open days ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.

The prime minister inaugurated the passenger terminal building of the corridor on the Indian side, also known as the Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built 4.5 km-long corridor.

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 first batch of pilgrims included Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee members and all the 117 MLAs and MPs from Punjab were also part of the ‘jatha’ (delegation).

Before dedicating the corridor to the nation, Modi partook langar (community kitchen) along with Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, Amarinder Singh and state Congress president Sunil Jakhar.

Donning a saffron coloured turban (head gear), Modi watched a video on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev. The Prime Minister was also shown a model of the Kartarpur corridor.

At the time of flagging off the jatha, Modi met Manmohan Singh, who was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, and had a brief chat with him.

State-of-the-art passenger terminal

The state-of-the-art passenger terminal building, with a design inspired by ‘Khanda’- a symbol of faith in Sikh community, has been constructed on 15 acres of land.

The fully air-conditioned building, akin to an airport, has over 50 immigration counters for facilitating about 5,000 pilgrims a day.

It has all necessary public amenities such as kiosks, washrooms, child care and first-aid facilities, prayer rooms and snacks counters.

The project was executed by the central government agency Land Ports Authority of India.

On November 22 last year, the Union Cabinet had passed a resolution to celebrate the historic occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in a “grand and befitting manner” throughout the country and across the globe.

The Cabinet had also approved the building and development of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to the international boundary to facilitate pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib round the year in a smooth and easy manner.

Chronology of the Kartarpur Corridor

The following is the chronology of major events leading up to the opening of the landmark Kartarpur Sahib Corridor:

1522: The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was established by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, where he is believed to have died.

February 1999: The Kartarpur Sahib corridor was proposed by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he took a bus ride to Lahore during a peace initiative with Pakistan.

2000: Pakistan agrees to allow Sikh pilgrims from India to visit the shrine visa-free (and without passport) by constructing a bridge from the India side of the border to the shrine.

2018

August 15: Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu attends Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in Islamabad.

August 21: Upon his return from Islamabad, Sidhu says that Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa informed him that the Pakistan government would open the Dera Baba Nanak (Kartarpur) corridor on Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

November 22: Indian Cabinet approves the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to the Pakistan border.

November 26: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu lays the foundation stone of the Dera Baba Nanak - Kartarpur Sahib Corridor (up to the International Border) at an event at Mann village of Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

November 28: Prime Minister Imran Khan lays the foundation stone of the 4-km corridor on the Pakistan side.

December 3: Pakistan opens immigration centre at the Kartarpur border.

2019

March 14: The first meeting between officials of India and Pakistan on Kartarpur Corridor takes place in Attari on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border.

March 19: India, Pakistan hold technical talks, discuss coordinates.

March 29: India conveys concerns to Pakistan over presence of Khalistani separatist on Kartarpur panel.

April 16: Experts and technicians from Pakistan and India hold technical meeting on Kartarpur corridor at Zero Point (Kartarpur).

May 27: India, Pakistan officials meet, discuss modalities for Kartarpur corridor.

July 8: Pakistan welcomes Indian media to attend 2nd meeting on Kartarpur corridor.

June 11: Pakistan allocates Rs 100 crore in 2019-20 budget for Kartarpur corridor project.

July 14: Pakistan and India hold second round of the talks on the Kartarpur corridor in Wagah; India gives Pakistan dossier on possible attempts to disrupt Kartarpur Sahib pilgrimage.

August 30: Technical talks between Pakistan and India takes place at Zero Point.

September 4: Third round of talks between officials from Pakistan and India on the Kartarpur corridor takes place at Attari.

October 20: Pakistan to open Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, says Prime Minister Imran Khan.

October 21: India express ‘disappointment’ over Pakistan’s USD 20 fee for Kartarpur Sahib but ready to ink pact.

October 24: India, Pakistan sign agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor.

October 30: Pakistan issues Rs 50 commemorative coin to mark Guru Nanak’s 550th anniversary.

November 1: No need for passport for Sikh pilgrims from India visiting Kartarpur, says Pakistan Prime Minister Khan.

November 4: Sikh separatists, including Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, feature in Pakistan’s official video on Kartarpur; India conveys its strong objections to Pakistan.

November 5: Sikh pilgrims from India visit Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan, instal golden palanquin.

November 6: India asks Pakistan to clarify if passport will be required for Kartarpur visit amidst confusion over the issue.

November 7: Indian Sikh pilgrims will require passport to visit Kartarpur: Pakistan Army; India to stick to Kartarpur agreement on visits by Indian pilgrims.

November 8: Pakistan will not charge USD 20 as service fee from Indian pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on November 9 and 12, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says, ending confusion over it.

Published on November 09, 2019
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