On Thursday, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) responded to an Indian misinformation campaign targeting the Kartarpur Corridor project, calling it “propaganda aimed at maligning Kartarpur and Pakistan.”
State-aligned Indian news channels claimed that the establishment of a new Project Management Unit (PMU) at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib snatched control of the shrine away from Sikhs and gave it to a “non-Sikh” body
The ETPB released a statement clarifying that while it is the custodian of all Sikh Shrines in Pakistan, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) remains the official body to carry out rituals in all shrines as per the Sikh Rehat Maryada.
The statement said the PMU has been established to look after only the day to day running affairs – running accounts, management and coordination – all other powers and responsibilities continue to be exercised by the PSGPC.
While condemning the misinformation campaign as an attempt to damage historic Sikh-Muslim interfaith harmony, the ETPB said that Pakistan has spent Rs 17 billion on the first phase of the Kartarpur corridor for which 875 acres of land was acquired. It added that Phase 2 of the Kartapur corridor is to begin soon.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib marks the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, who had spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur. The Kartarpur Corridor project renovated and expanded the shrine, creating a visa-free border crossing and secure corridor which connected the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib to the border with India, allowing for easier pilgrimage for Sikh devotees. The corridor was completed for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on 12 November 2019, and inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan.