ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced that: “Pakistan is all set to open its doors for Sikhs from all across the globe as the construction work on Kartarpur project enters [its] final stages.”
The prime minister, in a Facebook post, said that the project will be opened to the public on November 9, as promised earlier.
He added, “the world’s largest Gurdwara will be visited by Sikhs from across India and other parts of the world.”
“This will become a major religious hub for the Sikh community and will boost the local economy, result in earning foreign exchange for the country and creating jobs in different sectors, including travel and hospitality,” the premier said while talking about the positive impact the project have on the country.
He added, “religious tourism is on the rise in Pakistan. Earlier, Buddhist monks visited various sites for religious rituals, followed by opening of #Kartarpur corridor.”
Earlier on Saturday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had announced that former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has accepted an invitation to attend the Kartarpur corridor inauguration ceremony, scheduled for Nov 9. However, Singh will be visiting as a common man rather than as a special guest.
In September, Pakistani project director Atif Majeed said the visa-free border crossing from India to Kartarpur, Pakistan, would be inaugurated on Nov 9, just ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak on Nov 12.
It was also announced that Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur corridor.
Instead of visas, the Sikh pilgrims will now be given special permits to access the shrine.
Indian pilgrims will pay Pakistan $20 to use the corridor, which includes roadways, an 800-metre bridge over the River Ravi and an immigration office.
Pakistan has kept the corridor project distinct from the recent strains with India over repealing of Article 370, subsequent brutal actions in occupied Kashmir and intensified ceasefire violations on the Line of Control. The project had also remained unaffected by the previous episode of intensification between the two sides following the Pulwama attack in February.