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Sikh community in Doha thank PM Imran for Kartarpur Corridor groundbreaking

DOHA: Members of the Sikh community called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Tuesday. The prime minister arrived in Doha on Monday for a two-official visit during which he has met with his Qatari counterpart Abdullah bin Naseer bin Khalifa Al Thani and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Representatives of the Sikh community thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for the groundbreaking of the Kartapur Corridor. The groundbreaking was held in November 2018, and since then Pakistan has invited an Indian delegation to Islamabad to finalise the Kartarpur agreement.

According to a Foreign Office press release, Pakistan has shared the draft agreement between the government of Pakistan and the government of India for facilitation of Sikh Yatrees to visit the Gurudwara. Kartarpur is located beside the River Ravi in Narowal district, some 120km from Lahore and only about 3-4km from the border with India.

Settled in 1521 by Baba Guru Nanak, the village is famous for its white-domed Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar Sahib, which holds religious significance for the Sikh community. Kartarpur is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539. Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar Sahib was built by Sardar Bhupindar Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala between 1921 and 1929.

According to Sardar Gobind Singh, the in-charge of the Gurdwara, the region was a stretch of wilderness but began to attract the Sikh pilgrims after its repair work was started in 2000. Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar has a well in its garden, and a large kitchen where the pilgrims are served food.

In order to reach the Gurdwara, pilgrims visiting from India had to first reach Lahore, then travel a further 130km to arrive in Narowal. For several years, the Gurdwara remained closed due to the tense relations between India and Pakistan. In 1998, the two countries reached an agreement under which the Sikh pilgrims began to be issued visas to visit Kartarpur. On a clear day, devotees from India can see the white dome of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib from the darshan sthal, a viewing point constructed by the Indian border forces near the border with Pakistan in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

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