Kartarpur corridor next, says official; entry from Pak barred

Kartarpur corridor next, says  official; entry from Pak barred

The closure of the Kartarpur corridor was on the cards ever since the Centre restricted the entry of visitors to India from Pakistan. file

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 14

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is all set to shut down the Kartarpur corridor for an indefinite period even as the Pakistan government today banned its citizens from travelling to the shrine in the wake of the Covid outbreak.

Sources claim the MHA’s formal notification could be issued anytime. A senior officer of the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), the Union Government agency entrusted with the task of constructing the ICP, confirmed the decision to shut down the passage till further orders.

The closure of the venture, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 9 last year, was on the cards ever since the Union Government on Friday restricted the entry of visitors to India from Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border.

The corridor is a 4.6-km-long passage, comprising of two ICPs on either side of the border, which originates from Dera Baba Nanak and goes on till the Kartarpur shrine in Narowal district of Pakistan.

Earlier, officials had claimed that keeping in view the emotional appeal the corridor carried among the Sikh community, the MHA was not too keen on a closure.

However, things changed in the last 48 hours as Covid spread its tentacles deep and wide forcing the ministry to rethink its decision.

Dubai businessman Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi, who had donated liberally to the cause, termed the mover as “unfortunate”.

“The development comes as a bolt from the blue because not many people were crossing over following which the ICP could not be termed as a ‘public gathering’ spot,” said Cabinet Minister and local MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, had yesterday urged the Union Government not to shut down the corridor. “Unless the government imposes a travel ban on all foreign countries, it should not seal the corridor,” said Akal Takht acting Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh.

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