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This is a corridor to the shrine of peace, harmony and humanism: Naidu
"We are happy that Pakistan had accepted our long pending demand," says Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu. "Now, you would not have to take a long and arduous route through Attari border. Now you would be able to visit the holy Kartarpur site directly," he adds.
"This is a corridor to the shrine of peace, harmony and humanism, to the universal vision of a world as one family, to the service to humanity. This is a corridor that opens new doors. It is a path that opens up new possibilities. In a world that is increasingly torn with narrow tunnel vision, bigotry and dogmatism, a world that is being fragmented and divided, a world that is witnessing needless violence and endless conflicts, we need all the strength to dispel the darkness that constantly threatens to envelop individuals, communities and nations," he says.
"We want good relationships with all our neighbours," cites PM Modi's Lahore visit as his desire for peace. "But India will never accept terrorism, it will not help those who send terrorists here," he adds.
Punjab has been suffering due to terrorism: CM
"I am thankful to PM Khan," says Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. "I know how our army thinks, and that is to protect our country. But Pakistan army has shot our soldiers on the border. We have come with a message of love, and we want Pakistan to reciprocate that," he says.
Taking aim at Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa, CM says that Punjab has been suffering due to terrorism for 20 years and is paying even today with lack of development. "This is why I will not go to Pakistan till violence stops," he says.
"Until there is peace, I will not go to Pakistan," says he says, as two Central Ministers who are about to travel to Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor ceremony (Hardeep Singh Puri and Harsimrat Kaur Badal) sit on the same stage.
Union Minister Harsimrat Badal thanks PM Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan for putting "bitterness" between the countries aside for Sikh Pilgrims. Party rivalry rife at Dera Baba Nanak though, as BJP, SAD, Congress jockey for space on stage and credit for the corridor.
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh together to unveil a foundation stone on Monday for a six-km route leading from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab to Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab.
Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died.
Beginning of unprecedented form of diplomacy
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will be joined by two Indian Ministers to lay the foundation stone at the Pakistani side, where pilgrims from India will be able to visit their revered Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) by November 2019, to mark the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak. No Indian Minister has visited Pakistan since Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s SAARC visit in 2016, which were followed by the Uri attacks.
“It just shows that India-Pakistan relations can change very quickly, and change over issues which are not expected,” said former High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan.