New Delhi: India has handed over a list of pilgrims to Pakistan for the inaugural day of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, which includes former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, two Union ministers – Hardeep Puri and Harsimrat Badal – and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh.
Sources said that in total, 575 names were included in the list given to Pakistan on Tuesday for the inaugural jatha to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib through the trans-border corridor. “It includes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union ministers Hardeep Puri, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, chief minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, MPs and MLAs from Punjab among others,” they said.
Both Puri and Badal had visited Kartarpur Gurudwara on the invitation of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for the launch of the project in November last year.
Last week, India and Pakistan had signed the agreement that enshrines the modalities for operating Kartarpur corridor.
Pakistani officials had announced that the first batch of pilgrims will be allowed to use the Kartarpur corridor on November 9.
Earlier on Monday, a group of Sikh devotees from India began a nagar kirtan from Delhi to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The procession was led by former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, Paramjit Singh Sarna. The launch of the nagar kirtan was witnessed by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy Pakistan high commissioner Syed Haidar Shah also took part in the event, as per a press release from the Pakistani mission.
However, in sections of the Indian government, there seems to be unhappiness that Sarna, who is known to be aligned with the Congress government in Punjab, was chosen to head the delegation.
Apparently, Sarna was not the recommended name from the government of India, but was instead chosen by Pakistan to lead the group. The Pakistan high commission reportedly did not give visas to a 31-member delegation of the Punjab government and another 450 Indian pilgrims whose names were proposed by Indian government.
In its press release, the Pakistan high commission had said that it will issue additional visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims above the 3,000 limit allowed under the bilateral protocol from November 5 to 14 2019 to mark the 550th birth anniversary.
However, it is learned that India proposed to increase the limit to 10,000 during this period, which has not yet received a response from Pakistan.