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My ‘friend’ Imran has invited me to visit Kartarpur corridor ceremony, will definitely go: Sidhu

NEW DELHI: Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu will be visiting Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Border corridor. Sidhu said he has been invited by Pakistan Prime Minister and his friend and he gladly accepted the invite.

“Baba Nanak is helping the two nations come together. The prayers of crores of people have come true today. This process began three months ago. My friend (Imran Khan) has invited me and I will surely go,” he said. He also added that the initiative will lead to improving the ties between the two countries and end bloodshed.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the facilities at the crossing on the Pakistan side on November 28. Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had earlier confirmed that Sidhu would visit the country. This will be Sidhu’s second visit to Pakistan this year.

The issue of Kartarpur Sahib came into focus after Sidhu visited Pakistan in August to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister. During his visit, he was seen hugging Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa leading to a massive controversy. Sidhu had then defended himself saying the Pakistan Army chief had told him that the country may open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib which led to the hug.

The Centre had on Thursday said it will develop and build the corridor from Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan.

Hailing the Centre, the cricketer-turned-politician wrote to Union minister Sushma Swaraj and said, “As we move down this road and write a new chapter of faith and love for the region, I pray and hope that this enterprise will yield undeniable and implicit change and thaw in the relations, that it will build bridges, burn animosity and will act as a soothing balm for two neighbouring countries.”

He said he was extremely grateful and indebted for the steps initiated as a Sikh devotee and as a man committed to the cause of Punjab and its people.

This has been a long-standing demand of the Sikh community across the globe and a step in this direction has brought a new ray of hope among pilgrims who anxiously await to pay obeisance at the historic Gurdwara Sahib across the border, he said.

“A few months ago, I had met you to express my concern that the Government of India must take up this initiative by formally writing to your Pakistan counterparts as this would be a great service to the community,” he said in the letter.

These positive steps by both the nations are a great respite for the followers of guru’s timeless teachings and for the people of Punjab, he said. “I wish that the Government of India writes formally to Pakistan on visa and other related issues for easy passage for pilgrims once the corridor is complete,” he said.