Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara inauguration in Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab province on November 9 as an “ordinary man” and not as a “chief guest”, ANI reported on Saturday, citing local media.
“I had invited former PM of India Manmohan Singh,” Qureshi told reporters in Multan district. “I am thankful to him, he wrote me a letter and said, ‘I will come but not as chief guest but [as] an ordinary man’.”
The foreign minister added that Pakistan would welcome him even if he attended the event as an ordinary participant.
On September 30, Qureshi first announced that Islamabad had decided to invite Singh for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor.
Earlier this month, the former prime minister accepted Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s invitation to join the first group of devotees that will travel to Kartarpur as part of an all-party pilgrim delegation. Amarinder Singh has clarified that Manmohan Singh will not participate in any event organised by Pakistan. “There is no question of me going [for Pakistan’s event] and I feel Manmohan Singh will not go as well,” the chief minister has said. “There is a huge difference between visiting Pakistan and going to the gurdwara through the corridor.”
The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur in India’s Punjab state to the gurdwara in Kartarpur, where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev is supposed to have settled after his travels. He was also laid to rest in Kartarpur. The two countries are striving to complete the project before Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 9. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel to the pilgrimage site without visa.
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