February 11, 2020
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is going to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, in Kartarpur.
The UN chief will arrive in Islamabad on Sunday and will hold bilateral meetings with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on that day, and speak at an event on sustainable development and climate change.
On Monday, Deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said that Guterres will “travel to Kartarpur to visit a holy site, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib”.
The UN chief is expected to visit one of the most prominent Sikh pilgrimage sites next Tuesday.
Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur.
Last year, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been urged by a US-based advocacy group to now reopen the Khokhrapar-Munabao border with India for millions of Hindu and Muslim devotees.
He said millions of Muslims and Hindus living in Pakistan and India have been facing difficulties in visiting the two places of worship since 1947. “Fortunately, both issues could quickly be resolved with the same level of kindness you have demonstrated in the Kartarpur crossing issue”.
The Secretary-General will be in Lahore on February 18, where he will meet students and attend an event on Pakistan’s polio vaccination campaign.
He will visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib before returning to New York on February 19.
The UN chief welcomed the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan and said that it paved the way for interfaith harmony and understanding.
A spokesperson for the Secretary-General took to Twitter and said, “We welcome #Pakistan and #India opening #KartarpurCorridor today connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites, paving way for interfaith harmony and understanding by facilitating visa-free cross border visits by pilgrims to holy shrines”.
The Kartarpur Corridor links Dera Baba Sahib in Gurdaspur in India and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. It was opened on November 9 in a historic people-to-people initiative between the two countries.
According to the agreement between Pakistan and India, 5,000 pilgrims from India can visit the shrine daily and the number can be increased in future.
The requirement of passport and the USD 20 service fee have been waived and for last year in November by Pakistan.
Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world’s largest Sikh Gurdwara.