With regional tensions at an all-time high, be it the crisis in Kashmir dragging on its 96th day with a complete lock down or the decision of the Indian Supreme court to allow a Ram temple to built in the place of the Babri Mosque the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor today by Prime Minister Khan comes as a beacon of hope for the region.
The border corridor which was first proposed back in the 90s connects the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Indian Punjab and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. The corridor is intended to allow religious devotees from India to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometers (2.9 miles) from the Pakistan-India border, without a visa.
The inauguration of the historic Corridor was attended by officials representing the highest echelons of the Pakistani government as well as representatives from Indian Punjab. Prime Minister Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor not more then 10 months ago, the completion of the worlds biggest Gurdwara in 10 months is without a drought a feat of its own. The prime minister addressed the Sikh community stating
“First of all, I congratulate the Sikh community on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak and welcome you all, further paying tribute to the government team for completing the Kartarpur project in a matter of months he stated
“I salute you all. I had no idea you were so efficient. That means we can do so much more.
“I am always so happy to see the Sikh community who have come here. God lives in the hearts of all of us. All the messengers who have come and gone only ever brought two messages, that of peace and justice.
“These two things distinguish us from the animal kingdom.
He then pointed out the biggest problem facing the sub-continent that is poverty and the best way to curb it is through bilateral trade.
Notable attendees from across the border included the former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh who interestingly leads the first delegation across the border, Bollywood actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol is also amongst the attendees of the inauguration. Former cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu had a lot to say in his speech full of emotion and praise for the Prime Minister and the people of Pakistan at large
“ Alexander the Great conquered and won over the world with his might, you won the world with your heart.”
He said while addressing the premier.
With the partition of the Sub-continent in 1947, one of the holiest sites of the Sikh faith came to Pakistan with a margin of barely 4 kilometers while most of the Sikh population migrated to India. For decades the Sikhs of India yearned to see the site which was visible across the border out of reach by only 4 kilometers. This move of good will defiantly yield fruitful results in times to come and ease the tensions in the region that have crippled progress on both sides of the border.