Islamabad     -    Pakistan will open the much-awaited Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Sunday.

The proposed corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Indian Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.

“Pakistan is all set to open its doors for Sikhs from all across the globe, as the construction work on Kartarpur project enters final stages and will be open to public on November 9, 2019,” Imran Khan said in a Facebook post, clearing the air on whether the corridor will be open on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev next on November 12.

“The world’s largest gurdwara will be visited by Sikhs from across India and other parts of the world. This will become a major religious hub for the Sikh community, and will boost the local economy, result in earning foreign exchange for the country creating jobs in different sectors including travel and hospitality,” Imran Khan said.

“Religious tourism is on the rise in Pakistan, earlier Buddhist monks visited various sites for religious rituals

followed by opening of Kartarpur Corridor,” he added.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has accepted his invitation to attend the Kartarpur corridor inauguration ceremony as “a common man”.

While addressing a press conference in Sialkot on Sunday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor near Shakkargarh-Sialkot on Nov 9 in connection with the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Jee.

She said Pakistan was providing complete religious freedom to all its minorities, especially the Sikh community. She said Pakistan won the hearts and minds of the Sikh community around the globe by completing the grand project of Kartarpur Corridor. Dr Firdous said the government had started the religious tourism in Pakistan by opening doors to the Sikh community globally.

WORK ENTERS FINAL STAGE

The Kartarpur Corridor will provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib which is the final resting place of Baba Guru Nanak.

According to Evacuee Trust Property Board, the first phase of the Corridor, for which the work is in final stages, comprised the construction of main corridor up to zero point, main offices at zero point, basic polishing of existing building of Gurdwara, Baradari, Langar Hall, Angetha Sahib, Sarowar, administrative block and parking area. The second phase would include accommodation for about 10,000 Yatrees, five and seven stars hotels and shopping malls.

After inauguration of the Corridor, Sikhs from across the world would be able to visit the world’s largest Gurdwara to pay respects to the founder of their faith.

Around 5,000 Sikh pilgrims would visit Pakistan through Kartarpur Corridor who are just awaiting the inauguration of the facility.

Besides making Pakistan a major religious hub for the Sikh community, it would also boost the local economy, earn foreign exchange for country and create jobs in different sectors including hospitality.

Religious tourism is increasing in Pakistan as earlier monks from Korea had visited Khanpur city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their religious rituals and now Sikhs would be visiting Kartarpur for their religious rituals.

ELECTRICITY PROVIDED

The Kartarpur Corridor project is about to complete and electricity has been supplied to all buildings of the complex from Shakkargarh grid station.

According to official sources here on Sunday, the government is working speedily on the project to fulfill its promise with the Sikh community.

The registration of Sikh pilgrims, who want to participate in the ceremonies of 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh founder, Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, has been started.

The government has provided the best facilities at the Kartarpur Complex for the pilgrims and imported marble has been used in the construction of the courtyard of Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, which covers 10-acre area.

Paint and finishing work on Nishan Sahib, Sarwar, Darshan Diyorhi, entry point, Granthi House and residences made for the guests has been completed.

Special security arrangements have been made in and around the area and installation of security cameras, sound system and fire-fighting have been completed.

The decoration and beautification of the Gurdawara Kartarpur, temporary guest houses and the building of border terminal have been completed.