The history will be made on Pak-India border today as both countries agreed to open new border crossing. All the preparations have been made to open the Kartarpur border crossing on Pak-India border. Pakistani prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone of Kartarpur corridor today. Renowned former Indian cricketer and Minister of Indian Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu and other guests from the India will participate in the historic ceremony.
This corridor will enable the Sikh community to walk between two sacred places of Sikh religion. This corridor will link Gurdaspur’s Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib. They will be able to walk to this major shrine directly from Dera Baba Nanak in India rather than through the Wagah border crossing.
The 16th century shrine in Narowal district was where the founder of the Sikh religion, Baba Guru Nanak, breathed his last. The Gurudwara was built to commemorate the site where Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, settled after his missionary work. He assembled a Sikh community there, and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
Located four kilometers away on the banks of the River Ravi, the revered shrine is visible from the Indian side. Prime Minister, Imran Khan, took personal interest in meeting Sikhs’ demand after Navjot Sidhu attended his swearing-in ceremony in Islamabad. The facility would provide a visa-free access to the Sikh pilgrims to the shrine of Baba Guru Nanak in Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.
The friendship between both the cricketer turned politicians of Pakistan and India PM Imran Khan and Navjot Sidhu goes back to their cricketing days. Sidhu, now Tourism and Culture Minister of Indian Punjab have arrived in Lahore to participate in the ceremony. Other guests include the head of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, members of Indian Punjab assembly and senior journalists.
The guests have also brought with them holy water called ‘Amrat Jal’ from the Golden temple in Amritsar. As mark of respect, Indian parliament member Gurjeet Singh Aujla walked barefoot to Lahore, carrying ‘Amrat Jal’. Aujla said that he would use the water in the corridor’s groundbreaking.
The Indian government was in a quandary, displeased with this development but unwilling to alienate the Sikh sentiment. Finally it accepted the proposal; announcing it would construct the road on its side, and send two ministers to the groundbreaking ceremony by Imran Khan on Pakistan’s side.
Pakistani government showed that it is willing to work for peace between the two nuclear armed neighbours. But Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not ready and willing to kick starts the stalled peace negotiations.
The two countries will move on to hold talks on logistics, visa, and other details of the Kartarpur corridor, which is described as a change from the past five years of no talks despite Pakistan’s reiterated proposals. One hopes the Kartarpur opening is a step towards peace.
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18 August, 2019