Sunny Deol to attend Kartarpur Corridor inauguration

Clay Curtis
November 9, 2019

The Indian government has given political clearance to Navjot Sidhu to attend the Kartarpur corridor opening ceremony in Pakistan.

"They are very excited", custodian of the Kartarpur Shrine Ramesh Singh Arora told AFP on Thursday, saying he hoped the initiative would pave the way for similar access to other Sikh sites in Pakistan in the future.

Meanwhile, in India, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said it was "a good beginning" to normalise relations.

The Kartarpur corridor will allow Sikhs direct passage between the holy site Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Punjab and the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur for the first time since the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947.

Pakistan and India on Saturday opened a new corridor and border crossing to facilitate the Indian followers of Sikh faith to visit one of their holiest shrines, which lies in Pakistan.

Many believe it has happened now because of the friendship between Khan, a World Cup winning cricketer-turned politician, and India's Navjot Singh Sidhu - another cricketer-turned-politician.

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Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations earlier signed an agreement, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.

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On Saturday, the first batch of 10,000 pilgrims is set to perform their rituals in the compound of the Gurdwara on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

Before the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Modi will pay obeisance at Ber Sahib Gurudwara at Sultanpur Lodhi, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said on Friday.

Sikhs from around the world - including some from India, who entered through the main border crossing at Wagah after obtaining visas - have been arriving in Pakistan ahead of the celebrations for several days already.

Imran Khan will be holding a separate ceremony today in Kartarpur. "But if you do not respond to my third letter, then I will proceed to Pakistan as millions of Sikh devotees go on eligible visa", Sidhu wrote.

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