Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020 | Last Update : 01:28 AM IST

Manmohan Singh will go as pilgrim, won’t step on Pak soil

THE ASIAN AGE. | VINEETA PANDEY
Published : Oct 4, 2019, 1:43 am IST
Updated : Oct 4, 2019, 1:43 am IST

Congress sources said Dr Singh won’t deviate from the Kartarpur Corridor route to step onto Pakistan soil.

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh (Photo: ANI)
 Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: In a deft move by the Congress that is bound to leave the Pakistan government disappointed, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will not be attending the opening ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor bring organised by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration on November 9. Instead, he will lead an all-party jatha (delegation) to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor on the same day.

Congress sources said Dr Singh won’t deviate from the Kartarpur Corridor route to step onto Pakistan soil.

Both Dr Singh and Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh will travel to Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara as pilgrims through the corridor — which is sanitised and cut off from the rest of the country — to pay obeisance at the holy place.

The Pakistan government had, on Monday, extended an invitation to Dr Singh to be the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the Karta-rpur Corridor. Pakis-tan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi termed Dr Singh as the representative of Sikh community while inviting him.

Interestingly, there was confusion early on Thursday with unconfirmed reports saying that rife that the former PM and Capt. Amarinder Singh have accepted Pakistan government’s invite to attend the inauguration function.

The confusion began with Punjab chief minister’s tweet. “Happy to meet former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh ji at his residence today. Have invited him to join us on the 1st Jatha to Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara & attend the main event at Sultanpur Lodhi to mark Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s ,” Capt. Singh had tweeted.

This triggered speculation that Dr Singh will lead the all-party delegation to the opening ceremony event in Pakistan. However, soon after Capt. Singh’s media advisor clarified in a tweet that there is no question of the CM and the former PM attending Pakistan government’s functions.

Punjab CM’s office also clarified that both, Capt. Singh and Dr Singh, will use the Kartarpur Corridor as normal pilgrims to go specifically and only to Kartarpur Saheb Gurudwara.

The corridor is not the usual route for entry into Pakistan and attending function is, thus, ruled out.

“There is no question of me going (to Pakistan for Kartarpur corridor opening) and I feel Dr Manmohan Singh will not go as well,” Capt. Singh said later, pointing out that there was a huge difference between visiting Pakistan and going to the gurdwara through the corridor.

“Not going to Pak for  opening, will only visit  Gurdwara via Corridor, says . Does not think Dr Manmohan Singh going either, will only join 1st Punjab Jatha to Gurdwara,” tweeted Punjab CM’s media advisor, Raveen Thukral.

As far as visiting Pakistan is concerned, the Punjab chief minister reiterated that he would not go there till cross-border terrorism stops. He said Punjab was the worst sufferer of Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism.

Earlier on Thursday, Punjab CM called upon President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend a formal invitation to participate in the main events organised by the state government to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

“Both Modi and Kovind had accepted the invite, while Dr. Singh had also agreed to join the Jatha that would go to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on the opening day of the Corridor,” Punjab CM office said in a statement.

Tags: manmohan singh, kartarpur corridor, amarinder singh
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi