The registration of Sikh pilgrims for using the much-awaited Kartarpur Sahib corridor will begin in three days. The online system of registration will open on October 20. The 4.2 km-long corridor is to be opened on the occasion of the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev on November 9.
The corridor, a joint project by India and Pakistan, will create a pilgrimage link between the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and the Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. Pakistan will allow 5,000 pilgrims daily on the corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab state to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the Indian side of the Kartarpur corridor on November 8. Also, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will lead an all-party delegation including all the 117 state legislators, across the border to Kartarpur Sahib on the opening day. The delegation would also comprise the state’s Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) members, as well as members of the Sant Samaj and representatives of each recognised party in the state.
Significantly, the home minister Amit Shah on Monday said that he desires to visit the Kartarpur Corridor after it is inaugurated. “Nanak Dev ji had spread the message of brotherhood not just in India but also in the whole world,” the home minister said in an interview to a television channel.
Kartarpur should ideally have been inaugurated by the PM Modi along with his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan. In fact, when the work on the corridor was begun last year, the PM Modi had even compared it with the toppling of Berlin wall. But now when the corridor is going ahead and the pilgrims are actually going to visit Kartarpur, the neighbours have completely drifted apart, this time, as a result of the revocation of the Article 370. So, for India and Pakistan to truly achieve a certain stable level of confidence and trust in their long troubled ties, they will have to find a way to secure their engagement against these frequent breakdowns. And this will not be possible if they keep on measuring this trust and confidence against a diverse range of incidents and events, even the ones that have become routine over the course of the bloody history of the past more than seven decades. What is therefore needed is not only putting in place the framework and mechanisms that take care of the potentially disruptive developments but also fashioning of a positive narrative about each other which in turn will help nurture the constituencies in both countries that are favourable to a long term peace. This, no doubt, is easier said than done but then the alternative is a vicious cycle of endless distrust and hostility.