Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has stated that the Sikh community has expressed unprecedented enthusiasm for opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.
Talking to a private news channel prior to his departure to China, the Foreign Minister said an overwhelming response of the Sikh community from different European countries, besides India, is being observed and we are preparing accommodation and other necessary facilities for them.
It may be noted that a corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims travelling to a shrine in Pakistan will open in early November, in time for one of the religion’s most sacred festivals.
The visa-free border crossing from India to Kartarpur, Pakistan, would be inaugurated on November 09, just ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak on Nov 12.
The project is a rare recent example of cooperation between the two nuclear powers, who came close to war in February following a militant attack on police in India-held Kashmir. India revoked the special status of its portion of the disputed territory last month, inflaming relations once again.
The Sikh minority community in India’s northern state of Punjab and elsewhere has long sought easier access to the temple in Kartarpur, a village just over the border in Pakistan. The temple marks the site where the guru died.
Instead of visas, the Sikh pilgrims will 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.
Up to 5,000 Indians will be allowed access daily, with plans to eventually double the capacity.
Commenting on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China, he said besides meeting with high officials, he would have discussions with the Chief Executives and Presidents of different Chinese companies keen to invest in Pakistan.
About China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said both the countries agreed to focus on it, which after completion would benefit the people of the region. It may be noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday arrived in Beijing on a three day official visit to China.
Chinese Cultural Minister Luo Shugang received him at the Airport. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and Pakistan envoy’s to China Naghmana Hashmi were also present.
Foreign Minster Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Chairman Board of Investment Zubair Gilani are also accompanied Prime Minister during the visit.