Kartarpur corridor: Pakistan receives ministers, pilgrims

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Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Wednesday hailed the Kartarpur corridor as a huge success for Pakistan and a dream come true for the Sikh community. "So, if there can be no war then what other way is there other than friendship?"

"Hopefully we will not have to wait for Sidhu to become prime minister for relations to improve between the two countries and before that, Indian leadership will take positive steps", Khan said.

Sushma Swaraj precluded India's participation in a summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) which is scheduled to be held in Pakistan.

Talking to audience at the inaugural ceremony, the Indian cricketer had said "whenever the history of Kartarpur Sahib will be written, name of Imran Khan will top it", because it is a miracle which could not take place in 73 years, but happened within three months with Khan's initiative.

Speaking at the event, PM Khan said the happiness he has seen on the Sikh attendees' faces was the same he could imagine seeing on Muslim people's faces if they were four kilometres from the Holy Kaaba and finally allowed to visit it. We have paid a big price, someone has to douse this fire. "The kind of teachings he has given, if those teachings can be invoked to resolve our problems, it would be a very proud day for me as a Sikh".

The village was settled by Baba Guru Nanak in 1521 and is famous for its white-domed Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar Sahib.

India was represented by Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri at the event.

S.M. Qureshi interacting with Indian journalists. Credit Devirupa Mitra
S.M. Qureshi interacting with Indian journalists. Credit Devirupa Mitra

As part of the Indian delegation that arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday to attend the ceremony, Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Indian cricket player turned minister, was greeted by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar at Governor House Lahore.

The development comes ahead of Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary in 2019.

Sikhs from India have traveled to Pakistan to pay homage at the shrine for years but the trip is a hard one to make due to a contentious relationship and security concerns.

"The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start but the dialogue is not connected with only Kartarpur corridor", Indian media quoted Swaraj as saying.

In September, India's foreign minister pulled out of planned talks with her Pakistani counterpart after violence flared in Kashmir, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan across the Ravi River, about 4 km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Pakistan has warmly welcomed and initiated the ground-breaking ceremony and extended their hands in welcome to the Indian ministers and journalists on the occasion.

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