Ottawa (May 21, 2019) WSO requests that the Pakistan Government preserve the 104 acres of fields surrounding Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara where Guru Nanak lived and farmed for 19 years. Since the announcement of the Kartarpur Corridor in November 2018, there has been substantial construction resulting in the stripping of land around the Kartarpur Gurdwara in the name of religious tourism. As of May 1, 2019, a construction work update shows the destruction of all fields and orchards and new construction for a water tank and residential buildings. Plans also include commercial buildings such as hotels and parking lots on the land where Guru Nanak’s fields existed.
Mukhbir Singh, president of WSO explained, “The sanctity and serenity of the Kartarpur village as Guru Nanak envisioned and established is being damaged in the name of religious tourism. This is deeply saddening to Canadian Sikhs. We hope that the natural and traditional state of the gurdwara will be retained as opposed to making it a standard marble structure, similar to what we see in East Punjab.”
Bhavjinder Kaur Dhillon, Senior VP of WSO, added, “Kartarpur Sahib was established by Guru Nanak himself as a living centre of faith, shared labor and ecology. We want our next generations to have the chance to come and experience the land the way it was established 500 years ago.”
WSO urges that:
- the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and Kartarpur village environment, especially the flora and fauna, be protected, aligning with Clean and Green Pakistan
- any new construction be planned at least a kilometre away from the current Gurdwara complex i.e. outside the 104 acres of preserved fields
- the corridor roads stop at the outskirts of the preserved fields and only foot-trails connect the parking terminals with the main complex
- there should be foot-trails throughout the corridor which should itself be with zero-emission transport mechanism for the disabled and the elderly
- new facilities be designed in line with the tradition of the period architecture.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.