Kartarpur is located in Punjab near the Ravi river at a distance of 4 kilometers from the railway station of Dera Sahib. The region is located between the Norowal district of Pakistan and the Gurdaspur district of India. It is considered to be the holy shrine of Sikhism and was divided during the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.
Kartarpur Corridor is a type of agreement under which the Sikh community of India has free access to the Gurdwara Darbar in Pakistan without a visa. Furthermore, the Sikh community in Pakistan has no such free access to Dera Baba Nanak in India which is also considered to be one of the holiest shrines of the Sikh community. This article contains all the information including Kartarpur Corridor History.
|Location:||The Shrine is located by the River Ravi within a distance of four kilometers from the Dera Sahib railway station.|
|In Urdu:||کرتارپور کوریڈور|
|Inauguration Ceremony:||28th November 2018|
|Inaugurated By:||Imran Khan|
|Benefits:||Visa-free and passport-free access|
|Laid Foundation On:||26th November 2018|
Kartarpur Corridor Gurdwara
Darbar Sahib is Guru Nanak’s Gurdwara in Kartarpur which is located at a distance of 120 kilometers from Lahore. It is one of the historical and memorable sites of Guru Nanak Sahib where he used to gather people of the Sikh religion for his teaching ventures.
The Gurdwara of Nanak Sahib is formed on the place where he died on Sep 22, 1539, in Kartarpur. A high platform is made on the Indian side for Sikh people in order to perform a holy darshan (Survey) of Darbar.
Kartarpur Corridor History
The shrine of Gurdwara Darbar was established on the bank of River Ravi by the 1st Guru of Sikh religion, Guru Nanak who is said to spend the last eighteen years of his life in Kartarpur. Gurdwara was established after founding Kartarpur in 1505c. Muslims and Hindus formed a catacomb in the memory of Guru Nanak which was later washed up by the River Ravi while forming a new shape to that Mausoleum now called Dera Baba Nanak.
The region was divided under the Redcliffe Award. Furthermore, the region situated on the right bank of River Ravi including Kartarpur was awarded to Pakistan. On the other hand, the region on the left bank of River Ravi which contained the tehsil of Gurdaspur was awarded to India.
Akali Das demanded to acquire the lands of Sikh Gurdwaras in Pakistan in 1948 which was rejected by the Indian Punjab state on the behalf of Redcliffe agreement violation. The people of the Sikh religion used to cross the border of Pakistan without a visa through Jassar Bridge.
The border was not secured till the Indo-Pak war in 1965 during which the bridge of Jassar located on River Ravi, was destroyed by the Pakistan Army for blocking the advancement of Indian forces.
Kartarpur Corridor Initiative
Agreement between Pakistan and India
In the event of the 500th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, Indian Ex-Prime Minister Indra Gandhi suggested a swap of lands with Pakistan for the sake of Kartarpur which was not formalized. In 1974, an agreement was signed by Pakistan and India in favor of visiting the public to religious shrines in Pakistan and India which were updated in 2005.
Furthermore, the number of visitors and sites were increased. Kartarpur was not a part of the 1974 agreement which was added in 2005. The discussion for opening the border of Kartarpur was first started between Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the year of 1998.
Renovation of Guru Nanak
Gurdwara of Guru Nanak Sahib was renovated by the Government of Pakistan so that Indian Sikh people could easily see it from the border of India. Kargil war of 1998 between Pakistan and India promoted tensions between the people of both countries including Sikhs. As result, the Gurdwara of Guru Nanak Sahib was closed for Indian residents.
After many years Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the issue of Kartarpur in Punjab in the year 2004 and a corridor was suggested for the access of Indian Sikhs to Darbar of Guru Nanak through the road link of Amritsar and Lahore.
Access to Border
The foreign minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee suggested Visa-Free travel of Indian Sikhs to Kartarpur which was accepted by the government of Pakistan in 2008 by opening the border of Kartarpur for the people of India to access Pakistan without having a visa.
Kuldeep Singh Wadala, who is a former American Ambassador, arranged a press conference and suggested a “Peace Corridor” by accessing the people of both Pakistan and India for freely visiting the shrines of both countries. The government of India asked for carrying out a feasibility study but after Mumbai Attacks in 2008 disturbed the relations of both countries.
Approval of Kartarpur Corridor
After undertaking a feasibility study of the corridor the government of Indian state Punjab unexpectedly passed a resolution in favor of the Kartarpur Corridor. The cabinet of the Indian government approved the corridor of Kartarpur in 2018
Agreement of the project
Joint Secretary of Indian Internal Security and Home Minister of India signed the agreement with the Director-General of Pakistan Foreign Office at zero points and agreed to travel five thousand Indian pilgrims to Pakistan on daily basis.
Kartarpur Corridor Inauguration
The project was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan on Nov 9, 2019. Thousands of pilgrims attended the ceremony. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan suggested that the happiness of the future generations lies in peace and showed it to the world by welcoming 550 pilgrims of India. Indian Prime Minister also appreciated the act of Imran Khan and suggested that it will continue with happiness and prosperity.
Kartarpur Corridor Construction
After laying the foundation stone on both sides by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Indian Vice–President in 2018, an expressway of 4.7 km was constructed by the Government of Pakistan. A bridge of 800 meters was constructed on River Ravi along with an Immigration Office in Pakistan. The area of Gurdwara is also expanded for Indian pilgrims.
On the Indian side, the construction of the project contains a highway of 3.5 kilometers and a bridge of one hundred meters at Baba Nanak’s Dera.
Kartarpur Corridor Cost
The project cost 2.9 million dollars of India and 14.8 million dollars of Pakistan by constructing roads, check posts, bridges, and offices.
According to the foreign policy of Pakistan for Indian pilgrims, each pilgrim will pay 20 dollars as a service charge which is the one – third part of all operational costs. Indian government agreed to pay the service charges of each pilgrim.
Indian intelligence claimed in 2019 that they have spotted the training camps of terrorists at Gurdwara, Narowal which is rejected by the government of Pakistan, and stated that these are misinformation.