Islamabad: Pakistan has decided to invite former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend the inaugural ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor in November, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will only have to obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib.
Qureshi, however, did not mention PM Modi, igniting speculation that the gesture was a snub to the Indian Prime Minister, days after Imran warned of N-conflict over the Kashmir issue.
Qureshi said that a formal invitation will be extended to Manmohan Singh in this regard. Singh is highly respected in Pakistan. That is why we are going to invite him, Qureshi added.
While the Congress remained tight-lipped about the issue, sources said the office of the former prime minister has no information about the invite so far. The sources said he is unlikely to go as he had not visited Pakistan even during his tenure as prime minister for 10 years.
Pakistan is scheduled to open the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims on November 9, days ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.
“The Kartarpur Corridor inauguration is a big programme and Pakistan is preparing for it in a big way,” Qureshi said, noting that Prime Minister Imran Khan has a personal interest in it.