Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday that the country has decided to invite former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor in November, Dawn reported.
“Kartarpur corridor is an important project, the prime minister [Imran Khan] has a personal interest in it,” Qureshi said in a message, according to the newspaper. “After consultations, Pakistan has decided to invite Manmohan Singh to the inauguration, who we hold in high regard. He will represent the Sikh community.”
“On behalf of the government, as the foreign minister of Pakistan, I invite him to attend the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor,” Qureshi said. He added that the government of Pakistan will also send a written invitation to the former Indian prime minister.
Qureshi also invited Sikh pilgrims from India to take part in the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak.
On September 16, Pakistan had said that the Kartarpur corridor will be open to pilgrims from November 9. The announcement was made by Project Director Atif Majid, who said that 86% of the work had been completed. India’s Additional Secretary of Home Ministry Govind Mohan, who had gone to Gurdaspur in Punjab to inspect the construction work, said the corridor will be open from November 11.
India has reportedly shared a draft agreement on the Kartarpur corridor with Pakistan. The two sides had failed to reach an agreement even after the third round of talks on September 4.
Earlier this month, Islamabad announced that it would charge pilgrims using the Kartarpur corridor $20 (approximately Rs 1,416) service fee. The country’s foreign ministry had clarified that it was not an entrance fee and was meant to cover 10% to 15% of the costs. India had described it as Pakistan’s “inflexible attitude”.
India and Pakistan laid the foundation stone of the project last November. The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel to the pilgrimage site without visas.
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