Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking of the Kartarpur corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district today.
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Indian ministers, and foreign diplomats attended the ceremony.
A large number of Sikh yatris and a delegation of Indian journalists were also present at the ceremony.
An Indian delegation — comprising minister for food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and minister for housing Hardeep S. Puri — was received by officials of the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) at the Wagah border today.
Badal said that participating in the ceremony was an “emotional moment” for her, while Puri described the visit as “the most momentous journey” in his life.
Former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who arrived on Tuesday said, “Today marks a pilgrimage away from the hate and greed of politics, and towards a relationship built upon the dreams, aspirations and spiritual quest of the common people.”
While addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club yesterday, Sidhu had expressed hope that the corridor would bring peace and prosperity for citizens of both countries and prove to be “a foundation stone for brotherhood”.
Meanwhile, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti has said that after opening the Kartarpur Border for Sikh pilgrims, India and Pakistan should facilitate the opening of Sharda Peeth pilgrimage for Kashmiris.
In a tweet, the Former Chief Minister said that Kartarpur is a great example of how religion can bring people together and added that it is a path ‘envisioned by PDP founder Mufti Sayeed to end turmoil in Kashmir.’
The Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of members of India’s Sikh community to their religious site in Pakistan, will be inauguarated today and is expected to be completed within six months.
Earlier, the Union Cabinet headed by PM Narendra Modi announced building the Kartarpur road corridor up to the international border between India and Pakistan to let Sikh pilgrims visit the gurdwara on the banks of the river Ravi in Pakistan.
Both Pakistan and India made the decision to allow the pilgrims visit the holy shrine without having to secure a visa.
The foundation stone in Gurdaspur was laid by Vice-President of India Venkaiah Naidu in the presence of the CM and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday.
The Government of Pakistan had also said that it would provide land to Sikh organisations for construction of modern hotels in Kartarpur, Nankana Sahib and Narowal, besides construction of a railway station in Kartarpur to provide state-of-the-art board and lodging facilities to Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan.