Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday was given clearance from the Centre to visit the Kartarpur Gurdwara Sahib in Punjab province of Pakistan on November 9, according to sources. However, the government has reiterated that the clearance is subject to his visit to Kartarpur along with the inaugural 'jatha' comprising Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, added the sources.
This announcement came hours after Sidhu wrote his third letter to the Centre requesting a reply to his letters seeking permission to visit Kartarpur Sahib. "Sir, Despite repeated reminders you have not responded to whether or not the government has granted me permission to go to Pakistan for the inauguration ceremony of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Corridor. The delay and no response is a hindrance to my future course of action," read the letter.
"I categorically state that if the government has any inhibitions and say no then, as a law-abiding citizen, I will not go. But if you don`t respond to my third letter, then I will proceed to Pakistan as millions of Sikh devotees go on eligible Visa. Awaiting your response," the letter further read.
Earlier, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said, "The inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor is a historic event. It is not important to highlight any one individual."
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier sent a formal invitation to Sidhu to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan. Sidhu, expressing his willingness to attend the event, had written to Punjab CM and External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar, requesting permission to visit Pakistan.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab`s Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor from the Indian side while Imran Khan will open the route on the other side. India and Pakistan had on October 24 signed an agreement on the modalities for operationalising Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, paving the way for its inauguration ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.