India’s vice-president laid the foundation for the 4km corridor, providing visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims, on Nov. 26
Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pakistani side of the 4km Katarpur Corridor on Wednesday, according to state media, two days after Indian vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone on the Indian side.
The corridor, which will provide visa-free access to Sikh pilgrim wishing to visit sacred sites located in Pakistan, connects Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.
The official proposal requires India to construct its portion from Dera Baba Nanak to the border, while Pakistan will build the remainder from the border to the Gurdwara in Narowal. Pending since 1988 due to frosty ties between Pakistan and India, the corridor was renewed by Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in August.
“The corridor will become a symbol of love and peace between both countries,” Naidu said at the groundbreaking ceremony, according to the Hindustan Times. The bonhomie was shortlived, however, as the chief minister of Indian Punjab, Amarinder Singh, warned that Pakistan should not use this opportunity to play spoiler, allegedly a reference to Indian allegations of Pakistani interference across the Line of Control.
Congress lawmaker Navjot Singh Sidhu, a personal friend of Imran Khan who also attended the prime minister’s oath-taking ceremony earlier this year, will attend the Pakistani event. Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri will also represent the Indian government.