Former prime minister and Congress leader, Manmohan Singh, is likely to decline Pakistan's invitation for the inaugural function of the Kartarpur Corridor. The invitation was extended on Monday by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi adding that Singh "represents the Sikh community". But Congress sources say the former prime minister will give the event a miss.
"We would like to extend an invitation to former Indian PM Manmohan Singh for the inauguration function of Kartarpur Corridor. He also represents the Sikh community. We will also send him a formal invitation," said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is scheduled to open on November 9 on the Pakistan side said the Pakistan minister.
On September 16, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said that the Kartarpur corridor at the Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur will witness the movement of people by November 11.
The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib. The shrine was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev. Any Indian-origin person, with an OCI card, can visit the shrine through the Kartarpur Corridor.
Earlier, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would preside over a function to mark 550th Parkash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev at Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab on November 9, according to news agency ANI.
Badal, who was addressing an event had said, "Functions will be held at the holy city of Sultanpur Lodhi from November 1-12 as part of 550th celebrations with President of India Ram Nath Kovind presiding over the main event on November 12." Also, various chief ministers and Home Minister Amit Shah would preside over a function on November 11, Badal, also a Member of Parliament, said.
Both India and Pakistan agreed on several key issues--as many as 5,000 pilgrims can visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor every day. Additional pilgrims, over and above the figure of 5,000, can visit on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion by Pakistan side. Pakistan conveyed its commitment to increase this number to the maximum possible. The Corridor will be operational throughout the year and the pilgrims will have a choice to visit as individuals or in groups.
The Pakistani side has also agreed to make sufficient provision for preparation and distribution of ‘Langar’ and ‘Prasad’ for the pilgrims. All the facilities on Indian side would be ready for the pilgrimage through Kartarpur Corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Devji.