Lahore/Chandigarh, November 8, 2012: The Punjab Deputy Chief Minster Sukhbir Singh Badal today sought an early decision on opening a corridor from Indian border side to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib. He also sought a positive decision on handing over the management and control of Gurudwaras’ located in Pakistan to Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) , an apex body of Sikh Gurudwaras’ management.
Badal made these requests when he called on Pak Punjab Chief Minister Janab Shahbaz Sharif today in the evening. He requested that the sentiments of Sikh Sangat were inherently attached to those Gurudwaras’ located in Pakistan and he should request his federal government to give free access to Sikhs to pay obeisance in these Gurudwaras’.
Raising the issue of corridor to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, Badal said that this historic Gurudwara of first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was located on Pakistan side just 2 kms away from Indo-Pak border in Dera Baba Nanak sector. He said that SGPC and Punjab government had been requesting Union government and Pakistan government to give a pilgrim corridor up to Gurudwara so that Indian pilgrims could have an uninterrupted access to Gurudwara of first Sikh Guru. He said that thousands of pilgrims everyday reach border to have a distant view of Gurudwara from Indian border side and they return after kissing the soil that leads to Gurudwara. He said that Pak government should honor the sentiments of Sikh masses to provide a corridor to Gurudwara after coordinating with Indian government.
Taking up the issue of management and control of Gurudwaras’ situated in Pakistan, Badal said that SGPC, an apex body of Sikh Shrines management was professionally managing Gurudwaras’ in Punjab and it was imperative that this Gurudwara body be handed over management and control of all Gurudwaras’ in Pakistan so that it could provide sufficient facilities to increasing number of Sikh pilgrims visiting these Gurudwaras’.
Expressing concern over Visa hindrances being faced by Sikh pilgrims, Badal said that Pak Punjab Chief Minister Janab Shahbaz Sharif should request federal government to ensure easy Visa regime especially for pilgrims. He also sought opening of visa offices in Amritsar as well as in Lahore for the convenience of pilgrims, traders and industrialists.
He also sought Janab Sharif’s intervention for coming up with a plan for Sikh religious tourism circuit under which a Sikh pilgrim was conducted visit to all Sikh Gurudwaras including in Pakistan in a single visit. He said that tourism departments of both Punjabs’ would chalk out this ambitious religious tourism circuit plan.
Assuring total support to the issues of Sikh pilgrims raised by Mr. Badal, Janab Sharif said that he would earnestly pursue these issues with his federal government.