News Desk |
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar has said that the government was committed to complete Kartarpur Corridor on time as it will provide easy access to Sikh devotees besides promoting religious tourism.
The minister said that Pakistan’s gesture reflects its resolve to promote peace in the region and maintain cordial relations with all neighbors, including India. He underscored that the corridor will be developed within the stipulated time so that the Sikh devotees are able to perform their religious rituals on the upcoming 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak Dev.
The participants also made a specific commitment to connectivity whereby high-standard free buses would connect all the main Gurdwaras in Pakistan.
He said while chairing a meeting on the development of Gurdwara Kartarpur Corridor at his office on Friday. During the meeting, DG FWO gave a detailed briefing to the participants about the progress on the development of the corridor, including the construction of border terminal buildings, Langar Khana, Gurdwara complex and a bridge.
The DG apprised that technical details and designs were shared with the Indian side and the work was in full swing. He said that all cultural, religious and social issues have been taken care of while developing the corridor, adding that a visit of media officials would be arranged soon to the corridor for a briefing on its development.
The meeting decided to constitute a technical committee comprising relevant stakeholders to look into the matters of land acquisition, the cost-sharing mechanism, and other technical issues. On November 28, 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan had performed the groundbreaking of the project, saying the corridor would be opened in November 2019.
UK Sikhs to invest £500m for religious tourism in Pakistan
Recently, the Sikh community in London has committed the investment of up to £500M (635 Million USD/96.5 Billion Rupees) for the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan in a meeting with Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari, chairman of Pakistan Tourism Board and PM’s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development.
The minister said that Pakistan’s gesture reflects its resolve to promote peace in the region and maintain cordial relations with all neighbors, including India.
PM’s special assistant Bukhari has scored a huge win for Pakistan’s tourism industry as Pakistan is preparing for massive Sikh tourism in line with the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Sahib which falls in November 2019.
Bukhari, who was given the additional charge of promoting tourism in Pakistan earlier this year, has briefed the UK Sikh Foundation, heads of different Gurdwaras & business tycoons from across UK about PM Khan’s desire to promote religious tourism and develop Sikh Gurdwaras and other religious sites.
Read more: Kartarpur corridor: India backs out of talks
Pakistan prepares for massive Sikh Tourism in November 2019
The initiative alone would benefit tens of thousands of Sikh pilgrims every year and promote interfaith harmony. The plan is also inclusive of visa facilitation, online visas, visas on arrival, the establishment of tourism desks in Pakistani embassies and dedicated staff to staff to facilitate visas for those taking part in Yatras in Pakistan this year.
The initiative alone would benefit tens of thousands of Sikh pilgrims every year and promote interfaith harmony.
Pakistan planned to develop the religious sites but due to the recent economic situation was unable to carry on the projects at the desired pace considering the fact that the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Sahib falls in November 2019.
Following the meeting with Bukhari, the UK Sikh community thanked PM Khan and Bukhari for taking the step, saying they will set up a fund of £500M this year to invest in the development of religious tourism in Pakistan focusing on development and upkeep of their religious sites. The participants also made a specific commitment to connectivity whereby high-standard free buses would connect all the main Gurdwaras in Pakistan.
Indian intelligence groups on alert
Meanwhile, as the news of setting up the fund for promoting religious tourism in Pakistan emerged, the Indian media reported that India is keenly watching the developments amid concerns of money landing in ‘wrong’ hands.
Indian security agencies are on tenterhooks on developments regarding the project and people or organizations taking part in it, the media reported, adding that no group or foundation outside the country has so far offered such investment in the project in the Indian territory.