In a first, Pakistan ministry of religious affairs has officially taken away the full control of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Punjab’s Narowal district from Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.
The ministry has set up a Project Management Unit, Kartarpur Corridor and handed over the management and maintenance of the shrine to Evacuee Trust Property Board, a statutory board of the Pakistan government that administers evacuee properties left behind by Hindus and Sikhs who migrated to India after partition.
The PMU will be a self-financing body for the management and maintenance of the gurdwara under the administrative control of the ETPB, a Muslim body.
According to sources, the board has appointed as many as nine officials and staff members at the newly set up PMU Kartarpur Sahib sans any Sikh. Board spokesperson Amir Hashmi said Tariq Khan, additional secretary, ETPB, had been posted at PMU Kartapur Sahib as the chief executive officer.
Pakistan’s move comes days ahead of the first anniversary of the inauguration of the historic Kartarpur Corridor on November 9.
The Pakistan Prime Minister had formally inaugurated the corridor in a colourful ceremony in 2019 as part of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
The 4km-long corridor links Pakistan’s Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to India’s Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur.
It allows Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free travel to the Kartarpur gurdwara.