KARTARPUR: Several Sikh cabinet members, including Indian Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib.
The chief minister was accompanied by his family members, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Public Works Development Minister Vijay Inder Singla, Members of the Legislative Assembly Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Barindermeet Singh Pahra.
The delegation crossed the border at approximately 1pm to pay obeisance in the sanctum of Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan on the occasion of Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Sardar Ameer Singh received them on their arrival.
On the occasion, CM Channi described the reopening of the Kartarpur corridor as a historic moment, saying, “The long-pending prayer of Sikh Sangat has been fulfilled and now we can pay reverence at this holy shrine without any hindrance.”
CM Channi mentioned that he was fortunate to be part of the Sangat paying homage since the demand of Khule Darshan-didar of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur fulfilled after a long period over seven decades. “I will pray at Sri Kartarpur Sahib for further prosperity, peace and harmony of both sides,” he added.
A Foreign Office spokesperson had earlier said Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Om Prakash Soni, along with Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu will also visit Pakistan.
The Kartarpur Corridor, which links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district, reopened on Wednesday. The passage had been closed for the past 18 months.
Pakistan and India had closed the corridor in March 2020 to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The Indian authorities took the decision to reopen the ‘peace corridor’ amid the 552nd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak – Sikhism’s central figure – that falls on November 19 this year.
FM Qureshi welcomes Sikh pilgrims
A day earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had extended a warm welcome to the Sikh pilgrims arriving in Pakistan on the 552nd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
“Pakistan looks forward to welcoming Sikh pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib through the Kartarpur Corridor from November 17,” he had said in a statement issued.
FM Qureshi said Pakistan had reopened the Kartarpur Corridor on June 29, 2020 after temporary suspension of about three months due to the pandemic. However, India kept the Corridor closed from its side for nearly 20 months, and has only now allowed it to be re-opened.
“The Sikh community from India and around the world had been urging the opening of the Corridor,” he mentioned, adding Pakistan had also proposed formally to India to reopen the corridor in respect of the wishes and sentiments of the pilgrims.