New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ruled out a visit to Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor opening, making it clear that he would be only leading the first all-party ‘jatha’ (religious group) to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to pay obeisance.
Amid reports incorrectly suggesting that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had accepted Pakistan’s invitation to go there for the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, the Chief Minister said he did not believe the former Prime Minister had any such plans either.
“There is no question of me going (to Pakistan for Kartarpur corridor opening) and I feel Dr Manmohan Singh will not go as well,” he said, pointing out that there was a huge difference between visiting Pakistan and going to the historic gurdwara through the corridor.
The Chief Minister’s remarks came in response to questions after a section of the media erroneously claimed that Manmohan Singh had accepted Pakistan’s invite and would be going across the border for the Kartarpur corridor inauguration.
The fact was that Manmohan Singh had accepted Amarinder Singh’s invitation to join the ‘jatha’, to be led by the Chief Minister, through the Kartarpur corridor, to pay obeisance at the gurdwara across the border on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, an official spokesperson said.
As far as visiting Pakistan is concerned, the Chief Minister reiterated that he would not go there till Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism.
He said Punjab was the worst sufferer of Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism and he cannot think of going there till it stops terror activities.
The Chief Minister had, earlier in the day, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to extend a formal invitation to participate in the main events organised by the state government to mark the historic occasion.
Both Modi and Kovind had accepted the invite, while Manmohan Singh had also agreed to join the ‘jatha’ that would go to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on the opening day of the corridor.
Asked if Pakistan was playing a dirty game over the Kartarpur corridor, the Chief Minister told the media to put this question to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
India, on its part, was fully geared to ensure the security and safety of the pilgrims, he added.
Construction of the 4.2 km-long Kartarpur corridor is targeted to be completed by October 31, a week before the celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The gurdwara is located in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. It is near Dera Baba Nanak town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
It is a highly revered Sikh shrine where Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place.