KARTARPUR/SIALKOT - Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri on Sunday reiterated his government's to ensure basic rights and religious freedom to minorities and protect their places of worship in the country.

"Government has been taking special measures to protect minorities and ensure their rights and religious freedom," Federal Minister for Religious Noorul Haq Qadri stated while addressing members of Sikh community at Gurudawara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur-Shakargarh after visiting the Kartarpur Corridor Project here.

The federal minister said that the minorities have been enjoying complete religious freedom in Pakistan. He also lauded role of the minorities in national development, prosperity and in promoting religious harmony.

He reviewed in details work on the establishment of Kartarpur Corridor. He directed the officials concerned to ensure timely completion of the mega project to facilitate the Sikh Community by giving them visa-free entry to Gurudawara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur-Shakargarh (Pakistan) through Kartarpur Corridor from India.

On the occasion, the officials concerned briefed the federal minister for religious affairs and informed that the construction work on 3.4km long Kartarpur Corridor is briskly underway.

The construction company has already sped up pace of the construction for ensuring timely completion of the grand Kartarpur Corridor project between the two nuclear neighbours Pakistan and India. "Kartarpur Corridor project would be completed in a stipulated period till November 2019 (before the 550 birthday of Baba Jee Guru Nanak) there, the officials revealed.

The officials said that the Kartarpur Corridor would facilitate the Sikh Yatrees regarding their visa-free entry to Gurudawara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur-Shakargarh enabling them to perform their religious rites there, where the Baba Jee Guru Nanak had spent the last 18 years of his life.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has already established an immigration office at Kartarpur Corridor border to facilitate the Sikh Yatrees.

The officials said that Gurdawara Darbar Sahib is located close to Kartarpur border between Pakistan and India.

"Heavy machinery is being used to construct the a corridor connecting Gurdawara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur-Shakargarh (Pakistan) to Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district.

The corridor was a longstanding demand of Indian Sikhs so that they could visit their holy site conveniently and perform rituals. Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid foundation stone of the corridor project at Kartarpur on Nov 28, 2018 that was also attended by Indian ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri on the invitation of the Pakistani government.

The project also includes building of two bridges on the Ravi and on seasonal Naullah Baeen.

Kartarpur Corridor, which will officially open in November this year, will be used by Sikh pilgrims coming from India on a visa-free  basis to visit Gurdawara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Devji.