Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday claimed former prime minister Manmohan Singh would visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara as an “ordinary person” and not as a “chief guest” after the inauguration of the corridor on November 9 ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Speaking to reporters in Multan, Qureshi claimed Manmohan Singh had confirmed his visit to the gurdwara in a letter written to him.
“I had invited former PM of India Manmohan Singh. I am thankful to him. He wrote me a letter and said, ‘I’ll come but not as a chief guest but an ordinary man.’ We’ll welcome him even if he comes as an ordinary man,” Qureshi said.
Earlier this month, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally invited Manmohan Singh for the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.
However, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh earlier this month clarified that the former prime minister would not be participating in any event organised by Pakistan to mark the formal inauguration of the corridor.
“There is no question of me going (for Pakistan’s event) and I feel Manmohan Singh will not go as well. There is a huge difference between visiting Pakistan and going to the gurdwara through the corridor,” said Amarinder in a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
However, Amarinder said that Manmohan Singh would be part of an all-party jatha through the Kartarpur Corridor.
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.
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.