Musharraf offers free passage to Sikhs to visit Pak Gurdwara
Jagmohan Singh (Press Trust of India)
Lahore, April 24 (2003): Pakistan government is ready to provide unrestricted passage to Indian Sikh devotees who want to visit gurdwara Kartarpur in that country without a passport or visa.
President Pervez Musharraf has offered to provide Indian Sikhs with a corridor, which would be fenced on both sides. No passport or visa would be required, but pilgrims would have to return within a few hours the same day, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee co-Chairman Sham Singh and senior officials of the Pakistan evacuate trust said.
Gurdwara Kartarpur in Pakistan is at a distance of three kilometres from gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, with river Ravi separating them. A bridge which joined the two gurdwaras was bombarded during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
Till 1960 there was unrestricted passage to Indian Sikh devotees to visit gurdwara Kartarpur, crossing the bridge.
With the opening of free corridor, Indian pilgrims would be able visit gurdwara Kartarpur throughout the year.
Hundreds of Sikh devotees from across the world had congregated at gurdwara Hanslabad in Lahore recently, where a temple marks the birthplace of Guru Nanak and at a temple in Nankana Sahib near Lahore to celebrate Baisakhi. Nearly 100 Indian Sikhs had been given special permission to cross into Pakistan through the Wagah border for the occasion.