Two Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri will visit Pakistan next week to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Saturday while responding to an invite to her by Islamabad for the event.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a tweet, said he has extended an invitation to Swaraj, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to attend the ceremony at Kartarpur on November 28.
In a letter to Qureshi, Swaraj thanked him for the invite but said it would not be possible for her to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments, and India will send Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Puri for the event.
The visit of the two Union ministers to Pakistan is expected to ease tension between the two countries.
“Being mindful of the sentiments of our Sikh citizens and the importance of facilitating their smooth and easy access to holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, we will be sending Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Minister for Food Processing and Industries, and Hardeep Singh Puri, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, as the Government of India’s representatives for the event planned for November 28,” she said in the letter.
On Thursday, both countries announced that they would develop Kartarpur corridor in their respective areas, linking Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, is located across the Ravi river in Pakistan and is about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India.
The corridor, once built, will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the shrine.
In her letter to Qureshi, Swaraj also hoped that the government of Pakistan will expedite the construction of the corridor in order to ensure that “our citizens can pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor on the Pakistani side on November 28. (with inputs from PTI)