Punjab CM vows to promote religious tourism in Punjab
Lahore: Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi has launched the ‘Sikh Yatra’ booking portal to facilitate Sikh yatrees to avail of online hotel and vehicle booking.
Naqvi commented that the booking portal facilitates Sikh pilgrims for travel purposes, while security services could also be hired through this portal.
He said that a tourism policy would be introduced to promote religious tourism in Punjab.
Punjabi Sikh Sangat thanked the chief minister for setting up the Sikh Yatra booking portal.
It is pertinent to note that the portal is an initiative of Punjab government and is not associated with the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).
Pakistan has been promoting and providing facilities to Sikh pilgrims from all over the world. A visa-free Kartarpur Corridor border crossing that links the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib near Lahore, Pakistan, to Gurudwara Dera Baba Nanak in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India, was launched in 2019.
The corridor was established to facilitate Indian devotees’ visits to the Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan without a visa, the corridor spans 4.7 kilometers from the India-Pakistan border on the Pakistani side.
It is pertinent to note that Pakistani Sikhs cannot use the corridor and must obtain an Indian visa or work there to access Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side.
The corridor was originally proposed in 1999 by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Kartarpur Corridor became a reality with the laying of the foundation stone on the Indian side by Indian PM Narendra Modi and on the Pakistani side by the then PM Imran Khan in November 2018. The project was completed in time for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12, 2019, the corridor was hailed as a symbol of peace and cooperation between India and Pakistan.
Before its establishment, Sikh pilgrims from India had to undertake a 125-kilometer journey to Lahore to reach Kartarpur. The corridor’s opening was likened by leaders to the historic fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, with hopes that it could contribute to easing tensions between the two nations.
Closed for over a year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kartarpur Corridor reopened on November 17, 2021. Both India and Pakistan allowed citizens to visit the Gurdwara under the condition of carrying a negative COVID-19 test and being fully vaccinated.