ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday welcomed India’s decision to send its two top ministers to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor next week, terming it a “positive response”.
Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died.
Both India and Pakistan have announced that stretches would be developed in their respective areas, linking Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi welcomed India’s decision to send GoI ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, Radio Pakistan reported.
Qureshi termed India’s decision as a “positive response to Pakistan’s move”, it said.
“India has responded well to Pakistan’s initiative in its bid to bring the Sikh community closer,” he told the Associated Press of Pakistan during his visit to the stall of Indian High Commission at the Pakistan Foreign Office Women’s Association charity bazar here.
India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria received Foreign Minister Qureshi at the stall.
Qureshi said Pakistan has won the hearts of millions of Sikhs with a single but significant step and expressed confidence that the Kartarpur corridor would attract members of the Sikh community to Pakistan from across the globe including the United States and the United Kingdom.
He said that the Sikh community will be greeted here amid sentiments of love and would take back positive image about Pakistan and its people.
On Saturday, Qureshi extended an invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to attend the ceremony at Kartarpur on November 28.
Swaraj thanked him for the invite and said that India will send Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri to Pakistan next week to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.
Amarinder declined Pakistan’s invite while Sidhu accepted the request with “with unalloyed joy”.
The corridor, once built, will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the shrine.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor on the Pakistani side on November 28.
The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.