Gurdwara Darbar Sahib reopens

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SIALKOT: The Sikhs perform their rituals at Gurdawara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. — Dawn
SIALKOT: The Sikhs perform their rituals at Gurdawara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. — Dawn

SIALKOT: Pakistan has formally reopened the Kartarpur Corridor after three-and-a-half months long closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The reopening marks the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Indian had already declined to allow Sikhs from its side to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib due to the virus threat.

Sikhs from Nankana Sahib, Sialkot, Lahore and some other cities attended the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh under SOPs issued by the government.

The Kartarpur Corridor was inaugurated on Nov 9, 2019 by Prime Minister Imran Khan on the eve of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, which fulfilled the long-awaited desire of Sikhs across the world. It was temporarily closed on March 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

India said such decisions had to be taken in consultation with the health authorities and other stakeholders as cross-border travel had been suspended to contain the virus.

“India accused Pakistan of being less than sincere in making the offer as Islamabad aired the proposal at a short notice of two days. On the other hand, the bilateral agreement provides for information to be shared by India with the Pakistan side at least seven days before the date of travel. This would need India to open up the registration process well in advance,” Indian media quoted a senior official as having said.

It further said Pakistan had not built the bridge on their side across the flood plains of Ravi river despite having committed to it in the agreement. With the advent of monsoon, it would need to be evaluated whether safe pilgrim movement was possible through the corridor.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020