Punjab MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu has written letters to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar seeking permission to attend the opening ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan on November 9. The Congress leader had been invited by the Imran Khan-led government to the event, after which the centre had said those invited by Pakistan would have to secure political clearance.
The Kartarpur corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab with Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, just about four km from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province. It is the place where the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev is believed to have spent the last 18 years of his life. The corridor will ensure visa free visits of Indian pilgrims to the shrine.
"It is brought to your kind notice that I have been invited by Pakistan government for opening ceremony of Shri Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 09 Nov, 2019. As a humble Sikh, it shall be a great honor to pay obeisance to our great Guru Baba Nanak, on this historic occasion and connect to our roots. Therefore I may be permitted to visit Pakistan for this auspicious occasion," Mr Sidhu's letter read.
Chief Minister Singh has forwarded Mr Sidhu's request to senior officials for further action, news agency ANI reported.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan last month said the shrine will be opened for Indian pilgrims on November 9. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union Minister Hardeep Puri are among the 575 people who will be part of the inaugural jatha (group of Sikhs) to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, news agency PTI had reported.
Mr Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur on Saturday said Mr Sidhu will visit Pakistan if he gets permission from the centre.
The Congress leader had triggered a controversy after he had hugged Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan last year. He had claimed Mr Bajwa told him Pakistan was making efforts to open the corridor.
Mr Sidhu had kicked up a row after he had attacked Amarinder Singh during the national election. Mr Singh later blamed him for losing seats in Punjab.
Earlier this year, Mr Sidhu had quit the state cabinet after his ministerial portfolio was changed.
With inputs from agencies