Happy over cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu assuming charge as president of Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) today urged him to play for reopening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
The PSGPC which manages affairs of the historic gurdwaras in Pakistan under the government body Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), today congratulated Sidhu for becoming the PPCC chief. While congratulating him over twitter, the gurdwara body requested him to look into the matter of the corridor which is closed since March 2020.
In a video shot at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, which is the last resting place of Sikhi’s founder Guru Nanak Sahib, the PSGPC member Inderjit Singh said, “We have high hopes on Sidhu bhaji. As he made his valuable contribution in opening of the corridor, he would again raise the matter of its reopening with the Government of India”.
“We hope that Sidhu bhaji will not only ensure reopening of the corridor, but also visit here with a big jatha of pilgrims to pay obeisance here after the reopening. Guru Sahib will shower His blessings over him for his service”, he added.
To commemorate 550th Parkash Gurpurb (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Sahib, Pakistan government opened a corridor in November, 2019 for the followers of Guru Nanak, who are based in Indian union, to provide them visa-free access to the historic gurdwara. The corridor links the Gurdwara which is four kms away from India-Pakistan international border in Pakistan territory, to historic Sikh town Dera Baba Nanak which is situated along the border in the territory administered by India.
In view of the Covid-19 outbreak that has engulfed the entire world, the home ministry of India suspended the pilgrimage through the corridor from March 16 last year. On the other hand, all the worship places including Kartarpur Sahib had been closed to the public in Pakistan as well due to the outbreak.
After more than three months, the Pakistan government offered to reopen the corridor on June 29, 2020, the occasion of the death anniversary of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, conveyed to the Indian side their readiness to reopen the corridor, through a tweet on 27 June.
On October 2 last year, Pakistan government decided to reopen Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, for all kinds of people including local visitors. Even as the second wave of the virus outbreak is over, Indian government is giving no indication to lift the suspension, despite requests made by Sikh leaders.
Sidhu’s role in opening in Kartarpur Sahib corridor
It may be recalled here that Sidhu played a crucial role in the opening of the corridor as he hugged Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa in response to his assurance about the opening of the corridor during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s swearing ceremony to which he was invited as special guest in 2018. Then, Sidhu also attended the foundation stone laying ceremony and inaugural ceremony. This gesture impressed Khan a lot.