Manmohan Singh agrees to visit Kartarpur for Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary: report

Updated October 03, 2019

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Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh pictured during a meeting with Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Amarinder Singh. — Twitter
Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh pictured during a meeting with Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Amarinder Singh. — Twitter

Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to be a part of the all-party delegation set to visit Kartarpur in Pakistan for Baba Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary celebrations, NDTV reported on Thursday.

According to the Indian publication, Raveen Thukral, an aide of Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh confirmed the development, which took place during a meeting between the two Indian leaders earlier in the day.

"Happy to meet former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh ji at his residence today. Have invited him to join us on the 1st Jatha to Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara and attend the main event at Sultanpur Lodhi to mark Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's #550thPrakashPurab," the Indian Punjab chief minister had tweeted.

But Amarinder clarified that the group, which the former Indian premier will be a part of, will not go to the opening ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.

"There is no question of me going (to Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor opening) and I feel Dr Manmohan Singh will not go as well," he was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The government has signalled its intent to invite the former Indian prime minister to the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, due to take place on November 9.

“It has been decided after consultations that we will invite former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh to the opening of the very important Kartarpur corridor,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said in a video statement released to the media on Monday.

It is unclear whether a formal invitation has been sent as yet.

The corridor, an initiative of the Pakistan government, is being constructed to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November. The corridor would provide Indian Sikhs visa-free access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan.

There is scepticism if Manmohan Singh will accept the Pakistani invitation. The sceptics recall that Dr Singh, during his 10 years in the prime minister office, did not visit Pakistan. Moreover, Amarinder Singh, who belongs to Congress, had turned down the invitation for the groundbreaking ceremony.