Cricketer turned comedian turned politician Navjoth Singh Sidhu who was earlier adamant to enter Pakistan via Attari Wagah Border had to eat the humble pie when he was told that his political clearance was from Kartarpur Corridor only. The Congress leader was the first to get the invitation from the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to participate in the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistani side, had written thrice to the Ministry of External Affairs, seeking permission to visit Pakistan.
Even before Sidhu could get the political clearance, he had got the Pakistani visa issued by the Pakistan High Commission. Sidhu who was stripped off his ministerial berth in the Captain Amarinder Singh government in Punjab has always been in the thick of controversies. Sidhu, who had gone to take part in the swearing-in ceremony of the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, was seen hugging the Chief of Pakistani Army Staff General Qamar Javaid Bajwa.
Sidhu, who said that he wanted to be part of the first Sikh Jatha visiting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, had said that he would want to go to Pakistan in advance by a day via the Attari Wagah border and would return via Kartarpur corridor, was told that this was not possible and he can only use the Kartarpur corridor for the purpose.
When asked about Sidhu writing letters to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking clearance to visit Kartarpur Sahib, the MEA spokesman had clarified that anybody who wanted to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara had to follow a set procedure and had to first register on the MHA website.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor that would let the Sikh pilgrims from India have visa-free access to one of the holiest Sikh shrines in Pakistan, the final resting place of the founder of the Sikh faith Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, cabinet minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Singh Puri, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh are amongst those who were part of the first Jatha that was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district. The opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor has been a long pending demand of the Sikh community that was fulfilled by the Modi led government. While speaking on the inauguration function, Prime Minister exhorted people to follow the path shown by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.