Sidhu urges Indian FM to hold talks with Pakistan over Kartarpur border


NEW DELHI: Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has written a letter to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to initiate talks with Pakistan over Kartarpur Sahib border issue.

Sidhu serves as the local bodies minister in the Indian province of Punjab.

“When opportunity knocks, kindly step up and open the door,” he wrote.

“Pakistan has shown a positive intent towards the long pending demand of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor,” he added.

The Kartarpur gurdwara is located in Narrowal district close to the Indian border.

Sidhu explained that Sikh pilgrims for years have requested that the corridor be opened for them but an opening on the issue came during his visit to Pakistan to attend Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had also said that a corridor for Sikh pilgrims wanting to visit on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak would be opened and the pilgrims would not require any visa for the travel.

In his letter, Sidhu said that Sikhs in India have been required to obtain a visa to visit religious shrines in Pakistan since independence.

“Among various historial gurudwaras left in Pakistan, Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib is of great significance. This place is where Guru Nanak Dev spent almost 18 years of his life. The Gurudwara Sahib is very close to the international border.”

Sidhu said that progress on the issue can break a deadlock on the dialogue process between the two countries as well.

During a meeting with Sidhu at the ceremony, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had hinted the border would be opened in 2019 for the anniversary of Guru Nanak.