The Imran Khan Government of Pakistan is keen to provide land and resources to Sikh groups for hotels in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal, and a railway station in Kartarpur to provide modern boarding and lodging facilities. This attempt is seen by analysts as an attempt by Imran Khan to improve ties between India and Pakstan by attempting two “connect” the separated Punjab regions.
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed made the remarks on Monday after seeing off Indian Sikh pilgrims who departed for Lahore through special trains following religious rituals at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal, Punjab province, reports Dawn.
Ahmed said Pakistan Railways (PR) had offered 10 acres of land each in Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib and five acres of land in Narowal to Sikhs’ organisations for the establishment of five-star hotels to facilitate Sikh pilgrims.
Trains would run from Nankana Sahib to Kartarpur and hostels would be constructed near all Sikh pilgrimage sites, he added. The Minister said the Imran Khan government was investing millions of rupees for modernisation of Hasan Abdal and Narowal railway stations.
He also apologised to Indian Sikh pilgrims for the inconvenience they faced due to the paucity of coaches in special trains which resulted in the delay of their travelling from Nankana Sahib to Panja Sahib.
On Monday, Sikh pilgrims from all over the world poured into the Gurdwara Punja Sahib to celebrate the 549th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder, Guru Nanak Dev.
Over 3,800 Indian Sikh pilgrims, 148 from the UK, seven from the United Arab Emirates and thousands of Sikh and Hindu devotees from various parts of Pakistan, especially Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and interior Sindh, arrived at the gurdwara deemed as the third most sacred place of Sikh religion.
The Kartarpur corridor will be formally be inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday while Punjab Governor Mohammad Sarwar would host a reception in honour of the Indian Sikhs in Lahore on Tuesday.
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