Corridor To Kartarpur Sahib Should Open, Says Amarinder Singh

The 4.7-km passage which connects Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India's Gurdaspur and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur, was inaugurated in November by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Corridor To Kartarpur Sahib Should Open, Says Amarinder Singh

Sikh religious body SGPC said it wants the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to reopen.

Chandigarh:

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said the Kartarpur corridor should open for Sikh pilgrims. The Centre's concern about it, he suggested, could be due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan, which can be tackled by social distancing.

"Maintaining social distancing is important... the Union government's concern might be the increasing number of cases in Pakistan," Mr Singh told NDTV.  

Pakistan's offer to reopen cross-border movement to the famous Sikh pilgrimage site that came over the week-end, has been questioned by India.

"Cross border travel has been temporarily suspended as part of measures to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus. Further view would be taken in consultation with health authorities and other stakeholders concerned," a government source said over the weekend.

Sources also pointed out that Islamabad's short two-day notice was in violation of the bilateral agreement which stipulated a week's time.

On Saturday, Pakistan said it is prepared to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor for all Sikh pilgrims from June 29.  Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted to say that he has conveyed Islamabad's readiness to reopen the 4.7-kilometre passage to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur to New Delhi.

The announcement comes as Pakistan is lifting the restrictions imposed in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in a phased manner.

The Sikh religious body Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has said it also wants the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to reopen, but the final decision will be taken by the Central government and the body will abide by it.

"All the Sikh pilgrims want the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to reopen. Even the SGPC is of this opinion, but the final decision will be taken by the Government of India as the issue deals with the health of the Indian citizens. We will abide by Centre''s decision," SGPC's chief secretary Dr Roop Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The 4.7-km passage which connects Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India's Gurdaspur and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur, was inaugurated in November by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.