Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for the foundation-laying ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Pakistan, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday. The Narendra Modi government had cleared the proposal to develop the corridor on Thursday.
“I received invitation from Pakistan PM Imran Khan and the Pakistan High Commission in India has also contacted me to know my itinerary,” the minister told the newspaper.
Sidhu had caused a controversy in September after claiming that Minister of External Affairs Swaraj had told him she would write to the Pakistan government about building the corridor. Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal then accused him of misleading people about Pakistan’s alleged assurance on allowing Sikh pilgrims direct access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which is built at the site where Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikhism – died in 1539. It is one of the holiest shrines in Sikhism.
Sidhu said he would seek permission from Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the Union government to visit Pakistan. “I will go if the government of India allows me to go,” he told The Indian Express. “It will be a great honour to be a part of history. There will not be a happier moment than the time when my turban touches the ground where Guru Nanak Dev once walked.”
President Ram Nath Kovind and Amarinder Singh will lay the foundation stone of the corridor in Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district on Monday while Khan will lay the foundation stone on the Pakistani side on Wednesday. Asked if he will attend the event in Gurdaspur, Sidhu said: “I will certainly go if I am invited.”