India, Pakistan get another chance at peace along Kartarpur Corridor

Shahab Jafry
Filed on November 8, 2019 | Last updated on November 8, 2019 at 11.45 pm

(ANI file)

The Kartarpur gurdwara, largely inaccessible to Sikhs for 70 years since partition, is now open to all devotees.

Pakistan finally rolls out the red carpet at Kartarpur today as members of the Sikh community from across the world, especially India, gather for the historic 550th birthday celebration of the founder of their religion, Guru Nanak Dev, on November 12.

Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone at the site in late November last year, standing alongside then Indian minister of food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri, and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.

In less than 12 months his special committee, headed by Governor Punjab Chaudhary Sarwar, has accomplished the task of making the corridor connecting the two countries, besides renovating the site.

In a telling gesture, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will see off the first wave of pilgrims who will be welcomed across the border by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Kartarpur gurdwara, largely inaccessible to Sikhs for 70 years since partition, is now open to all devotees and is able to provide accommodation, food and medical treatment to at least 5,000 people every day. The government hopes to double this number in the coming years.

The Pakistani government is calling the Kartarpur Corridor, which now connects the Dera Baba Nanak Sahib shrine in India with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, a 'bridge of peace' between the two countries.

"This is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and shows our commitment to minority communities of Pakistan," Governor Sarwar told Khaleej Times on Friday. "This is indeed a historic day for us in Pakistan and for the Sikh community all over the world."

Today the visitors shall congregate at the shrine marking Guru Nanak's final resting place in Kartarpur, before moving to Nankana Sahib, the place of his birth, for the celebration on November 12, which will be attended by the governor.

He will also host a reception for visitors at Lahore's Governor's House on November 11, which will be graced by the president of Pakistan.

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