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Pak offers corridor for Sikh pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib

Islamabad, June 26
Pakistan has offered to set up a special corridor for Sikh pilgrims to visit the sacred Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, 3 km from the international border.

Pakistan is ready for talks with India to create such a special corridor for a safe passage for pilgrims, Syed Asif Hashmi, chief of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) that is responsible for maintaining the shrines of minority communities in Pakistan, told a reporter at Hasanabdal yesterday.

Organisations representing Indian Sikhs have been demanding establishment of a passport and visa-free passage between Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, located about 3 km from the border in Pakistanís Narowal district. According to Sikh history, Guru Nanak, the first spiritual leader of the community, spent 17 years at the site where Gurdwara Kartarpur is situated.

Hashmi also said the ETPB has spent over Rs 400 million for the upkeep, maintenance and improvement of facilities at gurdwaras to make visits by Sikh pilgrims comfortable. A 500-gallon water tank has been constructed at Nankana Sahib and 20 washrooms have been built at Dera Sahib, Kartarpur and Sacha Saoda. Work on Dewan Hall in Kartarpura temple will begin during the next fiscal year, he said.

Over 100 Indian Sikhs have arrived for a visit to Gurdwara Punja Sahib to participate in religious rituals. They are on a 10-day pilgrimage in connection with a function marking the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. ó PTI

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