Kartarpur symbol of religious unity: foreign ministry

FO issues statement at visa-free entry’s first anniversary; says India yet to reopen its side of corridor


Khalid Mehmood November 09, 2020
ISLAMABAD:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday issued a statement at the first anniversary of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, noting that the corridor – hailed as “the Corridor of Hope” – has fulfilled the long-awaited desire of Sikh community from all over the world.

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the visa-free border crossing – connecting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to the border with India – on November 9, 2019 on the eve of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith.

 

"Kartarpur has a special significance in the Sikh religion, as the first Guru of Sikhism, Baba Guru Nanak Sahib, had spent the last years of his life in Kartarpur. The Kartarpur Corridor, also known as the ‘Peace Corridor’, is a true symbol of inter-faith harmony and religious unity," said the statement.

Referring to the earlier lockdown measures taken due to the coronavirus pandemic, it said the corridor was closed on March 16, but was later reopened on June 29 with necessary health and safety guidelines.

However, the ministry added, India had yet to reopen the corridor from its side of the border and "allow the Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib".

Recalling the earlier visit by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the foreign ministry said the UN chief had referred to Kartarpur as the “Corridor of Hope” and had immensely appreciated the initiative by Pakistan.

Earlier, the ministry categorically rejected the “baseless and fallacious” Indian claims that the management of the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib has been replaced with a non-Sikh body.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs had claimed that it received representations from the Sikh community expressing grave concern over Pakistan’s alleged decision to transfer the management and maintenance of the gurdwara from the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee(PSGPC) to the administrative control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, a non-Sikh body.

“The malicious propaganda by the Indian government is simply an attempt to malign the ‘Peace Corridor’ initiative by casting mischievous aspersions on the interests of the Sikh community and to detract attention from India’s own reprehensible human rights violations of minorities in India,” it said.

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