The historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev- will be closed for local non-Sikh visitors for three days from Friday in connection to the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh, an official said in Lahore on Wednesday.
The Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan's Punjab province connects Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India.
"The (Pakistan) government has decided to close Kartarpur Sahib for three days from January 3 to 5 for non-Sikh visitors to exclusively hold a Sikh event - celebration of birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh at the Kartarpur Complex Narowal," Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETBP) spokesperson Amir Hashmi said. The ETPB looks after the holy places of minorities in Pakistan.
Mr Hashmi said the government decided to close the Kartarpur Sahib for non-Sikh Pakistanis to let the Sikhs of Pakistan and India celebrate their Guru Gobind Singh's birthday together at the historic Kartarpur complex.
"The main event of the 10th Guru of Sikh religion Gobind Singh's birth anniversary will be held at Kartarpur on January 5. In addition to 2,000 Pakistani Sikhs, officials of the ETPB and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhik Committee will also participate in it," the official said, adding that strict security measures have been taken to avert any untoward incident.
The official said that on Saturday and Sunday more than 20,000 non-Sikh pilgrims visit the Kartarpur complex which is 120 kilometres from Lahore.
ETPB chief Aamir Ahmed has directed the officials concerned to make all necessary arrangements for the event.
Pakistan opened the Kartarpur corridor on November 9 after Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated it in the presence of visiting Indian dignitaries like former premier Manmohan Singh, actor and BJP MP Sunny Deol and former cricketer and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu.
According to the agreement between the two countries, every day 5,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims can visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.