Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the Centre for expeditious resolution of the issue of opening up of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor for preparedness of 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev. Singh said that being a bilateral issue, this needed an active engagement of both India and Pakistan for its resolution.
He said he had personally met the prime minister and the external affairs minister and requested them to take up the issue with Pakistan.
Speaking with reporters on Sunday after the ruling Congress swept the zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls, Singh said that he had even raised the issue during his visit to the neighbouring country during his previous stint as Punjab chief minister (2002-07).
“The issue is of enormous religious significance for the Sikh sangat,” he added.
Singh recalled that his grandfather, late Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, of the erstwhile Patiala State, had donated Rs 1.35 lakh to save the historic gurudwara of Sri Kartarpur Sahib from ravage by the Ravi river waters during the 1920s.
The chief minister, in response to a question, said his government was fully geared to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of the first Sikh Guru.
The executive committee set up to monitor the progress of the commemoration of this mega event had already finalised the development works to be executed in the historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak.
Further, he said that on his request, the Centre had formed a national committee chaired by the Union Home Minister.
Earlier on Tuesday, Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu claimed that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured him of writing to the Pakistan government on opening up of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
Describing the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara as Sikhs’ “own Mecca”, Sidhu had said it is the responsibility of the Indian government to make a formal request for opening of the Kartarpur corridor.
Sidhu, who had gone to Pakistan in August to attend the oath taking ceremony of his friend Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime Minister, had said the neighbouring country had already shown a “positive intent” in this regard.