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Pakistan

Web Desk
November 9, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurates Kartarpur Corridor

Pakistan

Web Desk
Sat, Nov 09, 2019

KARTARPUR:  Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday  inaugurated  the Kartarpur Corridor, a border corridor between Pakistan and India, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

A large number of Indian Sikhs on Saturday made  historic pilgrimage, travelling visa-free, to one of their religion's holiest sites under a landmark deal between the two countries.

In his speech at the inaugural ceremony,  the prime minister welcomed the Sikh pilgrims and lauded the FWO, laborers and all the people who worked on the project.

"I had no idea that my government is so efficient," said the prime minister jokingly while commenting on the  early completion of the Corridor Project.

Khan said he had realized the significance of Kartarpur only a year ago.

"A leader always unites people, he will never divide them," he said, adding that South Africans would never forget Nelson Mandela since he united his people. 

"Nobody thought there would ever be justice in South Africa," he said.

The Pakistani leaders used the occasion to raise the issue of Occupied Kashmir where Indian forces have carried out a clamp down since August 5.

"We can resolve issue of Kashmir through dialogue," he said. The prime minister expressed the hope that South Asian countries would also  prosper  by following in the footsteps of France and Germany. 


FO expresses 'deep concern' over Babri Mosque verdict

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) expressed 'deep concern' over the the Babri Masjid verdict, on Saturday.

A press release from the MoFA stated that the decision had exposed how minorities in India were not safe.

"As the United Nations recently noted that Indian Supreme Court’s response to human rights petitions in the context of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir was slow, this decision points out that when it acts, it is unable to protect the interests of India’s minorities," read the press release.

The MoFA further noted that the rising tide of extremist Hindu ideology was a threat to regional peace and stability. 

Navjot Singh Sidhu pays tribute to PM Imran

Navjot Singh Sidhu paid a poetic  tribute to the Pakistani prime minister saying Imran Khan has created history with his initiative to open the Kartarpur Corridor.

He said Imran Khan has won  hearts of millions of  Sikhs. He said  completing  the corridor within  10 month-time was nothing short of a miracle. 

Pakistan FM addresses inauguration  ceremony

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a corridor  is being opened with the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor. 

"It is a historic day," said he while inviting Sikhs from across the world to witness the hospitality in Pakistan.

"We should think who is sowing the seeds of hatred  in sub-continent today," said he.

In his speech, the foreign minister also raised issue of Occupied  Kashmir, urging Indian prime minister to  implement the UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.

PM Imran in Kartarpur


Prime Minister Imran Khan  arrived in  Kartarpur   where he was due to inaugurate the border corridor. 

The prime minister and his companions including Interior Minister Ijaz Shah and Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar  shook hands and exchanged greetings with  former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.


Gates opened

Former Indian Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh arrives at Zero line crossing the Kartarpur border. Photo: Geo News screenshot

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs reached  one of their religion's holiest sites as Pakistan opened the gates of Kartarpur Corridor  enabling them to make a historic pilgrimage.

Former Indian  prime minister Manmohan Singh was also among the pilgrims. He said the initiative  would help improve relations between India and Pakistan.

"It is a big day for  Sikh community," he said. He was accompanied by  Chief Minister of Indian Punjab   Captain Amarinder Singh and others.

Modi thanks Pakistan prime minister

"I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, for respecting the sentiments of India. I thank him for his cooperation," Narendra Modi said in televised comments from the inauguration of the corridor on the Indian side of the border.


PM Imran Khan leaves for Kartarpur

Prime Minister Imran  departed from Islamabad to inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor.

He was accompanied by Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Special Assistant Firdous Ashiq Awan and Zulfi Bukhari.


"Kartarpur Corridor testimony of Pakistan's commitment to regional peace"

Prime Minister Imran Khan  said that the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor is the testimony of Pakistan's commitment to regional peace.

“We believe that the road to prosperity of region and bright future of our coming generation lies in peace," he said in his message on the eve of the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor scheduled on Saturday (today).

Congratulating the Sikh community on both sides of the border and the world over on the historic day of inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor, the prime minister said the significance of the event for the Sikh community, on 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, could be well understood by the Muslims who knew what it meant to visit the holy places. Read more  here 

Related:  Sunny Deol heading to Pakistan for Kartarpur opening

Pilgrims will be charged $20 each under service charges. However, they will be exempted from paying the charges on the day of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

After their immigration process is completed, the pilgrims will reach the Gurdwara by bus through the 4km-long Corridor.

In this picture taken on November 6, 2019 Pakistani security officials (R) and Sikh pilgrims walk in front of the Shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib ahead of its opening, in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur near the Indian border.—AFP photo

'This land is sacred' 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will see off the first group of pilgrims later Saturday and they will be welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the shrine.

The deal allows for up to 5,000 pilgrims a day to cross.

Pakistan has employed hundreds of labourers to spruce up the shrine, including building a border immigration checkpoint and a bridge, as well as expanding the site’s grounds.


Who is attending the historic event?

From India, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu will arrive for the inauguration ceremony as the government of Pakistan granted him a visa on Thursday.

Bollywood actor Sunny Deol and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh are expected to attend the ground breaking ceremony.


Indian authorities stop Navjot Singh Sidhu at Wagah

India authorities on Saturday barred cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu from entering Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border, sources said, days after giving go-ahead to him. Read more

The 4.5 km-long corridor connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur with Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur located in Narowal district of Pakistan.


Corridor 

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, situated in Kartarpur, is the second holiest place for the Sikh community. This is 120 km away from Lahore and situated in a small village of Kotheypind at the bank of River Ravi — at a distance of only 4 km from Pakistan-India border.

This village is included in Shakargarh tehsil of Narowal district and the beautiful white Gurdwara looks elegantly placed between the grasslands.

It has been said in the agreement reached between Pakistan and India that daily five thousand Sikh yatris (pilgrims) will be allowed to visit the Gurdwara through the Corridor.

To facilitate the Sikh yatris, the government has installed 130 counters, where their passports will be confirmed or scanned, and permit will be verified.