India has strongly objected to Pakistan's decision to transfer the management and maintenance of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib from Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee (PSGPC) to a non-Sikh body. The move would allow the Pakistan government to take full control of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in the country's Punjab province.
The decision has called for establishing a Project management unit (PMU) that will be under the administrative control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). Notably, ETB, a non-Sikh body is a statutory board of the Pakistan government, which administers evacuee properties, including educational, charitable, or religious trusts left behind by Hindus and Sikhs who migrated to India after partition.
The official order read, "the competent authority has been pleased to establish Project Management Unit (PMU), a self-financing body, for Management and Maintenance of Gurdwara Dardar Sahib Kartarpur (GADSK) under the administrative control of ETPB."
'Move against religious sentiments of Sikh'
India has slammed the decision calling that the move has exposed Pakistan's "tall claims" of preserving and protecting the rights and welfare of the religious minority communities. The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement read, "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." The statement also said, "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."
Kartarpur Sahib Corridor
India and Pakistan opened a 4.7 km cross-border corridor connecting Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district with Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan's Kartarpur in November last year to enable Indian pilgrims to visit the shrine without visas. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion spent the last days of his life in Kartarpur.
Despite strong misgivings about several measures taken by the Pakistani side, including the implementation of a service charge of $20 on every pilgrim, and security concerns, India went ahead with the opening of the corridor to respect the feelings of the Sikh community.