(Image symbolic. A Gurudwara in Pakistan)
India has strongly opposed handing over the management of the most important Sikh shrine, the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to a non-Sikh institution. Pakistan has entrusted the management of the gurdwara to this Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). Until now, it was managed by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC). The Ministry of External Affairs said the move has “exposed the claims of big talks” to protect the interests of Pakistan’s religious minorities. India has asked Pakistan to withdraw its decision as it is the responsibility of the Sikh minority community to handle the affairs of the holy Kartarpur Sahib.
This one-sided decision of Pakistan is highly reprehensible and contrary to the spirit of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. This decision also hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.
In Pakistan, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has created a Project Management Unit. After this, the management of Kartarpur Sahib has been taken away from PSGPC. According to the notification released on 3rd November, an autonomous body will now look after the management of the ETPB gurdwara. According to sources, the ETPB has appointed nine officers and staff members, none of whom are Sikhs.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in the Punjab province of Pakistan. This Gurudwara is one of the three holiest sites of Sikhism (the remaining two are Golden Temple and Nankana Sahib).
ETPB chairman Amar Ahmed said that the PMU Kartarpur corridor will further develop the corridor and pathway. He claimed that this would provide more facilities to the devotees. Ahmed appealed to the Government of India to resume the journey to Kartarpur for Sikh devotees, which is closed due to the Corona virus.
The Government of Pakistan has recently sent an invitation to Indian Sikhs to participate in a ceremony organized on the occasion of the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The three-day festival known as Guru Nanak Gurprab will begin on November 27 at Nankana Sahib.