Pakistan, India mull opening of Kartarpur border crossing

Published: August 29, 2018
SHARES
Email
Sikh pilgrims from India gather for Baba Guru Nanak's 546th birth anniversary. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL

Sikh pilgrims from India gather for Baba Guru Nanak's 546th birth anniversary. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL

LAHORE: The Indian government resumed talks with Pakistan on Wednesday to open the Kartarpur border crossing as Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria toured the area.

India’s Punjab Assembly passed a unanimous resolution on Monday to take up the issue of opening the border crossing for the 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak.

Bisaria was debriefed regarding the Sikh holy place in Kartarpur, located about 13 kilometres east of Narowal and less than five kilometres from the border with India.

Earlier, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa spoke of opening the border in Kartarpur for the anniversary of Guru Nanak with former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu at Prime Minister Imran’s oath taking ceremony.

Indian High Commissioner Ajay Basariya visited Pakistan to tour the Kartarpur border as the Indian government resumes talks with Pakistan regarding the opening of the border.

Indian High Commissioner Ajay Basariya visited Pakistan to tour the Kartarpur border as the Indian government resumes talks with Pakistan regarding the opening of the border. PHOTO:FILE

Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday: 10,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to be given visas

In April, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) decided to grant visas to 10,000 Sikhs from India to participate in the 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak.

Pakistani officials have given a green signal to Shiromani committee, the largest representatives of Sikhs, and other small groups to take part in the celebrations.

After mutual consultation, the two bodies decided that the number of pilgrims, in accordance with the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, will be increased from 3,000 to 10,000. Further, there will be no restrictions on the number of Sikhs coming to Pakistan from other countries.

Pakistan will issue visas to the Shiromani community and other groups, according to the quota. All such groups will provide a list of pilgrims to EPTB; no other individual apart from these will be granted a visa.

Interfaith inspiration : HEC to establish Baba Guru Nanak University

Approximately 0.1 million Sikhs want to visit Pakistan from India, Canada, the United States, Malaysia and several other countries. However, making preparations for and ensuring the security of all attendees on such a large scale is not possible, said an EPTB senior official while speaking to Express News.

However, the final decision on the matter rests with the government and the federal interior ministry.

Although Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday is in November later this year according to the Roman calendar, the Sikh community will celebrate the occasion according to the Nanak Shahi calendar in November 2019.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousuf has already announced plans to issue a memorable coin commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • Khan Kasi
    Aug 29, 2018 - 7:40PM

    Great opportunity for Pakistan to build good relations with Sikh people + big potential in economic terms, just like Hajj for Muslims in Saudi. Pakistan should increase the quote to few million…. Promote religious tourism come on…. Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Aug 29, 2018 - 9:50PM

    Hope this succeeds and borders /walls are open at least for religious purposes.Recommend

  • Khan da Mandan
    Aug 30, 2018 - 1:50AM

    Sardar Muhammad Yousuf is no more minister of religious affairs. Recommend

  • Urvashi
    Aug 30, 2018 - 4:28AM

    Good for people Recommend

  • Waqas
    Aug 30, 2018 - 8:39AM

    Pakistan welcomes sikh visitors
    Recommend

  • Farooq Ahmed Khan
    Aug 30, 2018 - 8:42AM

    It’s like Cricket. The religious tourism is a very important aspect of tourism. If such great numbers are willing and expected to visit Kartarpur, every preparation be made to make it happen and become a permanent feature. Pak Army and other law enforcement agencies be given it as a project to handle with high priority.Recommend

  • Abbasi
    Aug 30, 2018 - 11:49AM

    Sardar Yousuf is no longer the minister. Proofread before you publish. Mummy daddy newspaper.Recommend

  • Chengez K
    Aug 30, 2018 - 2:04PM

    Good deed must be done at earliest………….A direct road from border should be constructed…..Every year it should be open as per the requirements of Sikhs…….Pakistan must act like a good neighbor !!!Recommend

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Pakistan