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Kartarpur is ready

As the historic day nears, Kartarpur is ready to welcome Sikh pilgrims who will arrive from India to attend the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. The temple has been renovated and beautified for the occasion.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, three days before the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12. The premier congratulated his government for finishing the preparation in record time.
Earlier this week, PM Imran waived off two key requirements for the Sikh pilgrims travelling to Pakistan, allowing them to enter the country without a passport. They will now be able to travel with a valid identity card. Sikh pilgrims will also no longer have to register ten days in advance, while fees on the inaugural ceremony and birth anniversary date have also been waived off.
The corridor will allow Sikh pilgrims visa-free access to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib – one of Sikhism’s holiest sites located in the Narowal district of Punjab – just four kilometers from the border. PM Imran Khan has likened the temple as the ‘Medina of Sikhism’ and Nankna Sahib – birthplace of Guru Nanak – as their Mecca.
Thousands of Sikhs pilgrims will be arriving to celebrate the birth anniversary of the religion’s founder, who spent the last eighteen years of his life in Kartarpur. Among them are former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, both notable Sikhs who will lead a 575-member group on inauguration day.
Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has also been invited to attend the opening, but he has sought clearance from Indian authorities as he is not part of the official delegation. Sidhu attended the oath-taking ceremony of PM Imran Khan in August last year and received immense criticism in India after he hugged the army chief.
Pakistan formally signed a landmark agreement with India to open the corridor in October after tough negotiations amidst the hostilities and escalating tensions between both countries. The corridor will remain open throughout the year and pilgrims can visit as either individuals or groups.
The corridor will not only help promote religious tourism but bring valuable revenue for Pakistan. The government has assured that the money collected from entry fees will be utilised to improve facilities at the shrine. The Sikh community had yearned to visit their holy place and successive governments on both sides have been unable to succeed. Now their long cherished dream is just days ahead away.
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