PM to flag off first batch of pilgrims today

– Kartarpur Corridor opens –

Modi will inaugurate passenger terminal building, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance.

Dera Baba Nanak (Punjab): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Saturday flag off the first batch of over 500 Indian pilgrims that will travel to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province through the Kartarpur Corridor which is being thrown open on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The prime minister will inaugurate passenger terminal building, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built 4.5 km-long Corridor.

The Corridor connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib — also called Kartarpur Sahib — the last resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, in Narowal district in Pakistan.

Before the inauguration ceremony, Modi will pay obeisance at Ber Sahib Gurudwara at Sultanpur Lodhi, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday.

He will later participate in a public programme at Dera Baba Nanak.

The inauguration of the ICP check post will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

India had signed an agreement with Pakistan on October 24 on the modalities for operationalisation of the corridor at ‘Zero Point’ of the international boundary at Dera Baba Nanak, the statement said.

The first batch of pilgrims include former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Akal Takht jathedar Harpreet Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former CM Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu. SGPC members and all the 117 MLAs and MPs from Punjab including ministers are also part of the ‘jatha’.

Punjab Minister Tript Rajinder Singh said that all members of first batch have been asked to reach by 10 am.
The state-of-the-art passenger terminal building, its design inspired by ‘Khanda’ which a symbol of faith in Sikh community, has been constructed on 18 acres of land.

The fully air-conditioned building, akin to an airport, has over 50 immigration counters for facilitating about 5,000 pilgrims a day.

The project was executed by central government agency — Land Ports Authority of India.

It has all the necessary public amenities such as kiosks, washrooms, child care, first aid medical facilities, prayer room and snacks counters inside themain building.

The national flag has been hoisted at the site on a 300-ft-tall post.

Meanwhile, the five-day festival on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev began in Dera Baba Nanak and Sultanpur Lodhi on Friday and will conclude on November 12.

Modi will pay obeisance at Gurudwara Ber Sahib, former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur, who is incharge of celebrations, said.

The prime minister will be presented a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee for participating in the celebrations.

Over five lakh devotees have paid obeisance at Gurudwara Ber Sahib.

Guru Nanak Dev had spent 14 years of early life at Sultanpur Lodhi and used to take daily bath in the holy Kali Bein.

Sultanpur Lodhi city is decked up with flowers, hoardings and several colourful gates to welcome the pilgrims.

A bicycle company of Ludhiana is also providing bicycles free of charge to devotees to commute in the city, Kaur said.

Sikhs across the world eagerly await darshan

Kartarpur (Pakistan): Thousands of Sikh pilgrims from across the world are eagerly waiting for Saturday’s historic opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan separately inaugurate the cross-border pathway in their respective countries.

Khan will inaugurate the corridor on the Pakistani side and receive the Indian Sikh pilgrims including former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

The landmark corridor is being inaugurated amidst tight security in the backdrop of tension between the two countries over the Kashmir issue.

Already there have been mixed signals from Pakistan on the requirement of passports for the visiting pilgrims from India using the 6-km long corridor. Pakistani authorities have also retracted the USD 20 facilitation fee waiver for the inauguration day on Saturday.

PM Modi will also inaugurate the Integrated Check Post (ICP) of the Kartarpur corridor. The facility is located at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur in Punjab.

India signed an agreement with Pakistan on October 24 on the modalities for operationalisation of the corridor, a long-pending demand of the Sikh community in India.

The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life.

Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor and the travel will be visa-free. Each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee.

A 100-member special ‘Tourism Police Force’ for the security of Indian pilgrims using the Kartarpur corridor has been deployed by Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan all lit up to welcome devotees on Saturday.