December 7, 2022

Transfer of Kartarpur Gurudwara management to non-Sikh body exposes Pak: MEA

The non-Sikh body, ETPB, constitutes a self-financing body, Project Management Unit Kartarpur Corridor, which has been entrusted with the management of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

India has criticised the Pakistan government’s move to hand over the management of the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib to a non-Sikh body, saying it only exposes the Imran Khan-led government and their “tall claims of protecting the rights of religious minorities”.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “We have seen reports about Pakistan transferring the management and maintenance of the Holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib away from the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), a body run by the minority Sikh community, to the administrative control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, a non-Sikh body.

“This unilateral decision by Pakistan is highly condemnable and runs against the spirit of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as also the religious sentiments of the Sikh community at large. We have received representations from the Sikh community expressing grave concern at this decision by Pakistan targeting the rights of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan,” the statement read.

The ministry further said such actions only expose the reality of the Pakistan government and its leadership’s tall claims of preserving and protecting the rights of religious minorities. “Pakistan is called upon to reverse its arbitrary decision to deprive the Sikh minority community its right to manage affairs of the Holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib,” the statement added.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) was established in 1960 with its headquarters in Lahore to look after Evacuee Trust Properties and the land left behind by the Sikh and Hindus who migrated to India during partition in 1947-48. It constitutes a self-financing body, Project Management Unit Kartarpur Corridor, which has been entrusted with the management of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.

Though Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is also affiliated to ETPB, the parent body has retained direct control of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor since day one.

Pakistan charges a fee of $20 from any Sikh for using the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, which facilitates access to the historical Gurudwara which is less than five kilometers inside Pakistan territory.

In India, the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal has criticised the Pakistan government’s move. Party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said, “SAD condemns and demands reversal of Pakistan’s decision to take full control of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur from PSGPC and hand it over to a new govt body with not even a single Sikh member on it. This is a grave attack on fundamental rights of the Sikh minority in Pakistan.”

 

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