Kartarpur corridor ceremony: Resolving Kashmir just needs two capable leaders, says Pakistan PM Imran Khan

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New Delhi | November 28, 2018 5:33 PM

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today laid the foundation stone for a corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of India.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, kartarpur coridor, kartarpur corridor in pakista, pakistan, india, imran khan, kashmirPakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (ANI)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today laid the foundation stone for a corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of India. The shrine in Kartarpur is considered to be the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev who spent the last 18 years of his life before his death. The development of the corridor is expected to facilitate visa-free travel for Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and is likely to be completed in six months. The latest push by both sides comes ahead of Guru Nanak Dev’s 550 birth anniversary next year. The shrine, established in 1522, is located close to river Ravi in Pakistan. It is around four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

Addressing a gathering following the innauguration, Pakistan PM Imran Khan mentioned Kashmir and said that all it takes is two capable leaders to resolve the issue. “The only issue between us is Kashmir, all it needs is just two capable leadership to resolve this issue. Just imagine the potential we have if our relationships get strong,” he said.

In a bid to highlight the significance of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims, the Pakistan Prime Minister likened today’s development to a Muslim who is allowed to visit Medina after being stopped 4 km away from it. “The happiness I saw today was like of those Muslims who are standing 4 km away from Medina on another side of the border but are unable to visit it, but when they get chance to visit it, the happiness they get is the happiness they are relishing today”, he added.

The Indian government was represented by Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri at the event. Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was also there in his personal capacity, and also recited a poem in praise of Imran Khan. Pakistan and India last week had announced that they would develop the corridor on their respective side of the border to help Indian pilgrims visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

Imran Khan also came out openly in defence of Sidhu who is facing criticism in India for hugging Pakistan army chief General Bajwa during his last trip to Pakistan. “I don’t know why was he criticised. He was just talking about peace and brotherhood. He can come and contest elections here in Pakistan’s Punjab, he’ll win”.

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal turned a bit emotional in his address and said, “When the wall of Berlin can be brought down, then hatred between India and Pakistan can be brought down too with the opening of Kartarpur corridor. It can be a new beginning in the name of Baba Nanak who said ‘na koi Hindu na koi Musalman lekin ek Onkar’”.

Speaking at the event, Navjot Singh Sidhu said that it’s time both governments realise the need to move forward for better ties. “My father used to tell me that Punjab Mail went till Lahore, I believe that it can go further till Peshawar, till Afghanistan.”

Earlier, Pakistan had invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who thanked the neighbouring country for the invite and expressed her inability to travel to Kartarpur Sahib because of prior commitments.

“For many years the Indian Government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” she was quoted as saying by ANI earlier in the day.

A few days back, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had said that while he would like to visit the shrine in Pakistan, he would only do so after the killing of Indian soldiers stops from across the border.

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