Former PM Manmohan Singh to attend Kartarpur inauguration as a 'yatri', not guest, says Pak FM Mehmood Qureshi

Pakistan will inaugurate Kartarpur corridor from its side on November 9, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Kartarpur corridor, linking the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Dera Baba Nanak to the Kartarpur Sahib shrine in Pakistan, on November 8. 

Former PM Manmohan Singh to attend Kartarpur inauguration as a 'yatri', not guest, says Pak FM Mehmood Qureshi

NEW DELHI: Pakistan will inaugurate Kartarpur Corridor on its side on November 9, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the corridor, linking the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Dera Baba Nanak to the Kartarpur Sahib Shrine in Pakistan, on November 8. 

Pakistan Foreign Minister Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday confirmed that Kartarpur Corridor would be inaugurated on November 9. He further said that former prime minister Manmohan Singh has responded to the invitation sent by Pakistan government requesting him to inaugurate the corridor.

Qureshi added that Dr Singh will attend the inauguration ceremony as a "yatri" (as an ordinary man) and not as a guest.

Earlier, reports had suggested that former PM Singh had accepted Pakistan's invitation to inaugurate the corridor.

However, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had refuted all such reports and ruled out a visit to Pakistan for the Kartarpur Corridor opening, making it clear that he would only be leading the first all-party 'Jatha' to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, via the corridor, to pay obeisance.

He had also clarified the rumours by saying, "There is no question of me going (to Pakistan for Kartarpur corridor opening) and I feel Dr Manmohan Singh will not go as well.” The Punjab CM had also pointed out that there was a huge difference between visiting Pakistan and going to the Gurdwara through the corridor.

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As per the clarification by an official spokesperson, the former PM had accepted the Punjab CM’s invitation to join the 'Jatha', to be led by the chief minister, through the Kartarpur Corridor, to pay obeisance at the historic gurdwara across the border on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to inaugurate the 4.5-km-long Kartarpur Corridor, linking the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Dera Baba Nanak to the Kartarpur Sahib shrine in Pakistan, on November 8. Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had earlier met PM Narendra Modi in Delhi and invited him for the Kartarpur Corridor opening. Both President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi had accepted Punjab CM’s invite to attend 550th Prakash Parv celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November.

Pakitan has demanded a service fee of approximately Rs 1,500 per pilgrim coming from India to visit the Kartarpur Sahib shrine using the corridor in its draft proposal. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has said that India urged Pakistan not to levy the $20 (approx Rs 1420) fee on pilgrims using the Kartarpur corridor. The Centre will take a call on the Kartarpur Corridor service fee, a condition put forward by Pakistan, after the Haryana and Maharashtra election campaigns end, according to Zee Media sources.

The Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Narowal district of Pakistan`s Punjab province, located 4.5 km from the border near Dera Baba Nanak in India`s Punjab, is highly revered among Sikhs as it was the place where Guru Nanak spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place.