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Talks on Kartarpur corridor begin, India seeks facility for passage of 5,000 Sikh pilgrims a day

March 16, 2019
ATTARI: Indian and Pakistani delegations have held a meeting at Attari to discuss early implementation of the Kartarpur corridor project. A joint statement underlined the need to expedite the project to facilitate smooth pilgrimage of Sikhs and others to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur on Pakistani side.

The Indian team wanted the corridor to remain open throughout the year and allow passage of 5,000 pilgrims a day. India will build facilities for the passage of 10,000 pilgrims so as to help tourists and devotees on festival days like Baisakhi also.

Both sides also held expert level discussions between the technical experts on the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor, a joint statement said on Thursday.

Held in the background of Indo-Pak tensions, the talks were constructive, the Pakistan foreign ministry stated. Pak delegation leader Dr Mohammad Faisal said the deliberations were constructive. The next meeting will be at Wagah on April 2. Earlier to that, a technical team will meet on March 19.

India and Pakistan had last year agreed to open a special border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur.

India on November 22 last cleared the project to build Kartarpur Corridor till Pakistan border to help Sikh pilgrims visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, which falls in 2019. The proposal was first made by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1999.

The Central Government which will bear the expenses for the project, had urged Pakistan to build a corridor on their side. The corridor will be built from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, Indian Punjab, to the international border. The corridor will help smooth pilgrimage of Sikhs and others throughout the year.

Kartarpur is inside Pakistan in Pak Punjab, 4.7 km from the border, in Narowal district, and not far from Jalandhar in India. The shrine is located near Ravi river and four km from Dera Sahib railway station.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is the gurdwara in Kartarpur. The corridor will provide for Sikhs' free pilgrimage to their shrine without visa. India will construct the Indian side of the corridor by August 2019.

Guru Nanak died at Kartarpur on September 22, 1539, at the age of 70 and was buried at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. Guru Nanak was born in Nankana Sahib, village Talwandi, Lahore, in 1469. Guru Nanak Gurpurab, also known as Guru Nanak's Prakash Utsav and Guru Nanak Jayanti, celebrates the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak. Gurpurabs are birthday celebrations of Sikh gurus.

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