Manmohan Singh to visit Kartarpur; Modi, Kovind invitedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/former-pm-manmohan-singh-accepts-punjab-cms-invite-to-visit-kartarpur-in-pakistan-6051391/

Manmohan Singh to visit Kartarpur; Modi, Kovind invited

Amarinder Singh said both Kovind and Modi have accepted the Punjab government's invitation to be part of the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev ji, including the historic opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.

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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been invited to be part of the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. (File/Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to be part of the first all-party delegation to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara. Singh accepted the invitation of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has also invited President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be part of the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.

Singh has also urged both the prime minister and the president to take part in the Kartarpur Corridor opening at Dera Baba Nanak and the main programme at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12.

He, however, ruled out a visit to Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor opening, making it clear that he would be only leading the first all-party Jatha to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to pay obeisance.

The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur. Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis to Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the corridor.

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“Happy to meet former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at his residence today. Have invited him to join us on the first Jatha to Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara and attend the main event at Sultanpur Lodhi to mark Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th Prakash Purab,” Singh tweeted.

Both Kovind and Modi have accepted the Punjab government’s invitation and modalities of their visit will be worked out soon, he said.

Pakistan is scheduled to open the Kartarpur Corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims on November 9, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12. Last week, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi said the country will invite former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a representative of the Sikh community for the inaugural ceremony of the historic Kartarpur Corridor.

Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis to Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur corridor.

The visa-free corridor for Sikhs from India to Pakistan’s Kartarpur Sahib, revered as the place where Guru Nanak is said to have spent his final days and where he breathed his last, was made possible through an agreement between the two countries. The length of the corridor is about 4 km, 2 km on either side of the international border.

An official spokesperson of Punjab CMO said the details of the events were shared with the president and the prime minister and they were requested by the chief minister to attend the programmes as per their convenience.

The Punjab CM has requested that a group of 21 persons may be allowed to visit Nankana Sahib to organise a “path” (reading of religious scriptures) on the occasion of the 550th Prakash Purb from October 30 to November 3 and bring a “Nagar Kirtan” to Sultanpur Lodhi via Amritsar (Wagah) later in the day.

The “Nagar Kirtan” will arrive at Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab’s Kapurthala district on November 4. The chief minister has also written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, seeking a formal clearance for the Nankana Sahib delegation visit and the “Nagar Kirtan” to be brought from Pakistan to Punjab, according to an official spokesperson.

Giving details of the key events planned by the state government from November 5 to November 15 in connection with the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the chief minister said the flag-off ceremony will be preceded by a brief public meeting of devotees at Dera Baba Nanak.

Further, in line with past practice, the Punjab government proposed to organise an all-party meeting from 11 am to 2 pm on November 1 at Sultanpur Lodhi, he added.