ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s generous policy for issuance of visa for Sikh pilgrims in liberal manner has worked as India is now forced to plan to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor, which was shut down in March 2020 by India owing to the COVID pandemic.
The opening has become possible on the occasion of 552nd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib being observed next week. According to Indian sources, the Corridor — which connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab with the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal, Pakistan — may get opened from India’s side by the end of this week.
Darbar Sahib is the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak. The final announcement would be made by India jointly the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Home Affairs after assessing the security status.
Islamabad announced last week that it has issued around 3,000 visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims to participate in the 552nd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak in Pakistan from 17-26 November 2021.
Sources said the government is likely to announce the mechanism of reopening the corridor soon as the pilgrims will have to follow all COVID-related protocols in order to travel.
The pilgrims might also be asked to furnish their COVID vaccine certificates by the Indian government. Pakistan had opened their side of the Kartarpur Corridor in June 2020, which sent across great goodwill for Pakistan all over the world where Sikhs live.
The corridor was built on the directives of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa in August 2019 when Indian cricketer Novjat Singh Sidhu requested him to establish the corridor. Sidhu is also chief Indian Congress in Indian Punjab.
The corridor was opened on 9th November, 2020. An agreement was signed between Pakistan and India for Kartarpur Corridor on 24th October, 2018 between the two governments.