The visit comes just days after Punjab Minister Navjot Sidhu attended the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan Prime Minister. Later in a media interaction, Sidhu had mentioned that Pakistan Army chief Qamar Bajwa suggested that the possibility of opening up the Kartarpur corridor to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev next year is under consideration.
The nearly 4km corridor if open would connect Kartarpur Sahib -- where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life -- to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur on the Indian side.
According to sources in Pakistan, the envoy during his visit looked towards the Indian border visible from the Gurdwara rooftop, interacted with the caretakers and also explored the possibility of the corridor."We hope to bring this longstanding proposal to fruition with focused follow-up and coordination with the Pakistan side. This corridor will have a special appeal and significance for devotees as we celebrate 550 years of Guru Nanak Ji's birth next year," said envoy Ajay Bisaria speaking exclusively to The Tribune.
The proposal of the corridor first came up during the Musharraf era sometime in 2000 but was never actively followed up after sometime. Sikh pilgrims from India visiting Pakistan have been provided access to Kartarpur Sahib over the years through Wagah and Lahore.
However, a direct corridor from Punjab would be very different. "Kartarpur Sahib was the resting place for Guru Nanak Dev for several years. It will be an important gesture from Pakistan for the pilgrims if it happens. It will be significant for many devotees," Sarat Sabharwal, former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan told.
There is no clarity yet on the modalities and logistics under discussion and if the corridor could be opened for a few days only next year or for the long term.
Meanwhile, Bisaria who was stopped by Pakistani authorities from entering gurdwaras, including Nankana Sahib during recent visits, was accorded a warm welcome at Kartarpur . However, he was not presented a robe of honour (siropa), as per sources.