ISLAMABAD: The Sikh community all around the world is set to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.
On November 9 last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan fulfilled the cherished desire of 30 million Sikhs around the world by formally opening the holy place in a ceremony attended by Sikh leaders from India including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former Indian cricketer and lawmaker Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The opening of the corridor was widely recognised as ‘a new symbol of peace’ by the world community which also took place on the eve of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Secretary-General United Nations Antonio Guterres during his visit to Pakistan in February this year also acknowledged the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor as “a practical proof of Pakistan’s desire for peace and interfaith harmony”. During his visit to the gurdwara, he called the opening of the corridor a “good step” which would promote interfaith harmony.
The Sikh community from all over the world appreciated the efforts made by Pakistan to complete the Kartarpur Corridor project in record time and for provision of excellent arrangements and facilities for Sikh pilgrims.
Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is located in Narowal district where Baba Guru Nanak settled and preached for about 18 years of his life. A four-kilometre-long corridor enabled the Sikh pilgrims to travel between Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district, India.
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, who is responsible for carrying out rituals in the gurdwara, is organising a function at Kartarpur. On the Indian side, Sikh organisations including Dal Khalsa and Akal Federation are holding a function near the integrated checkpost.
However, the Kartarpur Corridor is lying defunct on the first anniversary of its inauguration due to the coronavirus pandemic which has affected the anniversary celebrations and has left the devotees upset.
The corridor remained operational for only four months before governments of both countries closed it in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were several controversies and the turnout remained low as only 59,000 people used the corridor.
The Pakistan government first expressed its readiness to reopen the corridor on June 27 due to the improved situation. It then announced to reopen it on October 3, but the Indian government has remained undecided.
As a result, the integrated check posts on both sides of the border are still wearing a deserted look and Sikh community has urged the government of India to reopen the corridor.