New Delhi, November 7, 2019: Congress leader and MLA from Punjab's Amritsar East constituency, Navjot Singh Sidhu has been granted "political" clearance by the government to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib through the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, sources said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Sidhu wrote another letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar requesting to at least reply to his letters seeking permission to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.
"Sir, despite repeated reminders you have not responded to whether or not the government has granted me permission to go to Pakistan for the inauguration ceremony of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Corridor. The delay and no response is a hindrance to my future course of action," read the letter by Sidhu dated November 7.
Former Punjab minister also stressed that as a "law-abiding citizen" he prefers to visit Pakistan after Central government's approval.
But he warned that if the MEA won't respond to his letter then he will go to Pakistan like any other Sikh devotee on "eligible Visa".
"I categorically state that if the government has any inhibitions and say no then, as a law-abiding citizen, I will not go. But if you don't respond to my third letter, then I will proceed to
Pakistan as millions of Sikh devotees go on eligible Visa. Awaiting your response," the letter said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier sent a formal invitation to Sidhu to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan.
Sidhu, who has expressed his willingness to attend the inaugural ceremony, had written to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh requesting permission to visit Pakistan for the same.
It may be noted that Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal has said that the country will issue a visa to Sidhu. While Sidhu can cross over to the Pakistani side, he would still have to seek political clearance to attend the Kartarpur ceremony, Dawn reported.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.
Sidhu, who had earlier attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, has not been included in a Congress delegation, which will be visiting the gurdwara on November 9.
Navjot Singh Sidhu's visit to Pakistan in 2018 had drawn criticism from various quarters in India after he hugged the Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor from the Indian side while Imran Khan will open the route on the other side.
India and Pakistan had on October 24 signed an agreement on the modalities for operationalising Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, paving the way for its inauguration ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.