CHANDIGARH, India, 23 August 2019
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will be among a host of dignitaries who will be invited to join the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, Punjab Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said on Friday.
Mr Randhawa also said a Punjab government’s delegation is awaiting the Centre’s nod to visit Pakistan later this month to assess the progress of the Kartarpur Corridor project.
He said the Punjab delegation of state ministers and MLAs are also supposed to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the chief minister of the Punjab province of the neighbouring country.
In an informal interaction with reporters, Mr Randhawa said the Dalai Lama, 84, a globally revered figure and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, will be among a host of religious and spiritual leaders who will be invited to join the celebrations in November.
“The Dalai Lama has been requested to join the celebrations. Besides, other top religious leaders from various faiths will also be invited,” he said.
Asked how soon will the Punjab government delegation visit Pakistan, Mr Randhawa replied, “As soon as our government gives us the permission. The day we get permission from the Centre we will go.”
Commenting on the ongoing work on the Kartapur Corridor, Mr Randhawa said, “The work is still slow on our side. I had met secretary, Border Management in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and told him that we need to speed up work on our side. He assured that manpower will be doubled and work will be expedited.”
In a major initiative last November, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur Corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib — the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev — to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur up to the border is being constructed by India.
The corridor will be opened in November on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.