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November 28, 2018

PM to perform ground-breaking of Kartarpur Corridor today

Top Story

November 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India will open yet another international crossing point today (Wednesday) when Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the ground-breaking of the four kilometre-long Kartarpur Corridor.

Details regarding the crossing/immigration formalities and construction work for the road and buildings, including check-points, are being worked out by the two sides since the facility will be exclusively for Sikh pilgrims who will perform their religious obligations at the resting place of Sikh religion founder Baba Guru Nanak at Kartarpur Sahib.

It is likely that the movement of Sikhs to Kartarpur from India on regular basis will be possible mid next year. The opening of the corridor was first assured by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa in August last when visiting Indian political leader and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu requested him for the same. The corridor will connect the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district. Pakistan will build the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur district up-to the border will be constructed by India. It will facilitate the Sikh pilgrims visiting their most sacred sites in Pakistan.

The initiative for opening the corridor was taken by Pakistan which was later endorsed by the Indian side. The initiative has widely been lauded both in Pakistan and India as a step towards building bridges between the two countries. Well-placed sources told The News that ambassadors/high commissioners posted in Islamabad will attend the opening ceremony in large number. They will travel to Lahore by a special flight for their onward journey to the Karatarpur Sahib.

Navjot Singh Sidhu led his country’s delegation to Pakistan on Tuesday for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor. The Indian delegation comprising Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri and Sidhu reached Lahore through the Wagah Border crossing where they were received by officials of the Punjab Rangers.

Speaking to journalists upon crossing the Wagah Border, Sidhu thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for inviting him to the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor. “The seed that Imran Khan sowed three months ago has become a tree now and me and 120 million Sikhs could not be happier. I want to thank the Pakistani prime minister and officials,” he said.

“Karturpur Corridor will prove to be a path of peace and instead of 60 years, happiness can come in six months through it. This corridor will be the reason that borders between both the countries open,” Sidhu added.

Sidhu said he has brought a message of love and peace and added, “There are numerous artistes and cricketers in both the countries which everyone loves and there needs to be cricket matches between India and Pakistan.

"Religion should not be seen through the eyes of politics," the former Indian cricketer-turned-politician said. Responding to a question regarding criticism by some Indian ministers of his decision to visit Pakistan, Sidhu said, "I forgive those who criticised me. I have been a fan of Imran Khan since I was a child," Sidhu said as he joked and recited verses in Punjabi.

Later, speaking in Geo News programme Capital Talk, Sidhu said that India and Pakistan should hold talks to resolve their issues. He said all deadlocks can be ended if there is political will.

When asked about criticism in India for him hugging General Bajwa in his last visit here, Sidhu said that he would do the same if he gets the chance to do it again.