Pakistan has formed a Project Management Unit Kartarpur Corridor, a self-financing body, for the management of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. This PMU is under the administrative control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), and has nine members, none of them Sikhs.
The notification for the formation of the PMU was issued on November 3.
In India, the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal has criticised the Pakistan government’s move. Party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said, “SAD condemns and demands reversal of Pakistan’s decision to take full control of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur from PSGPC and hand it over to a new govt body with not even a single Sikh member on it. This is a grave attack on fundamental rights of the Sikh minority in Pakistan.”
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), also affiliated to the ETPB, looks after Sikh Gurudwaras in Pakistan.
The ETPB has kept the control of Kartarpur Sahib corridor directly in its hands from the very first day. Even on its website, there are different columns for information about PSGPC and Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
Now, Pakistan has created a PMU for the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara too, for which the Kartarpur Sahib corridor had been constructed to facilitate access to Sikhs in India. The historical Gurudwara is less than five kilometres inside Pakistan territory.
Pakistan charges a fee of USD 20 from any Sikh for using the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, which has been shut since the Covid-19 outbreak.
The decision to form the PMU has taken many by surprise, as it is the PSGPC – much like India’s Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) – which looks after Gurdwaras in Pakistan.
The PSGPC was formed by the Government of Pakistan and is entrusted with the maintenance of Sikh religious institutions, places of worship and the well-being of the Pakistani Sikh community.
The ETPB, on the other hand, was established in 1960 with its headquarters in Lahore to look after Evacuee Trust Properties and the land left over by the Sikh and Hindus who migrated to India during partition in 1947-48.
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