The long-awaited Kartarpur Corridor was flagged off on Saturday morning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The corridor connects the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is a Sikh Shrine in Pakistan and is said to be the final resting place of First Sikh Guru Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Formerly, the place lied amidst the pre-independence India’s Punjab state. However, after the partition, the Sikh Shrine got bordered by the national division.
It is just a few km away from another famous Sikh Shrine Dera Baba Nanak shrine which is situated in Gurdaspur, Punjab. The distance between the two shrines is only 4 Kms.
Since the partition, the Sikh pilgrims from India had to face lots of difficulties to pay tribute to the holy land of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib. To ease the difficulties of millions of Indian & Pakistani Sikh Pilgrims, a corridor had been constructed mutually by the two nations, India & Pakistan.
Titled as ‘Kartarpur Corridor’, the 4-5 km long road connects the two famous Sikh shrines through the line of control between the two nations. The Corridor got inaugurated on 9th November morning by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first batch of the Indian pilgrims entered Pakistan on Saturday through the historic road consisting of around 500 pilgrims.
“It will be easy for the Sikh pilgrims to pay obeisance at the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara with the opening of the Kartarpur corridor,” Modi said at a gathering in Dera Baba Nanak.
“The opening of the corridor and entry of pilgrim through the integrated check post will double the happiness of devotees” he added.
Pakistan’s end of the corridor was inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who received the Indian pilgrims at Darbar Sahib. The first Jatha of the pilgrims included some famous faces of the country including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Navjot Singh Sidhu, total of 117 MLAs and MPs from Punjab including ministers accompanied by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee members.
While greeting the first Jatha, Prime Minister Khan said that it is a historic opening of the Kartarpur corridor is a testimony to Pakistan’s commitment to regional peace. Khan congratulated the Sikh community for the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. He said, “the opening of the Kartarpur corridor is a testimony to Pakistan’s commitment to regional peace.”
While highlighting the role of this corridor in strengthening communal harmony, Khan said “We hope that the road to the prosperity of every region and bright future of our coming generations is in peace,” Khan said in his message on the occasion.
“Today we are not only opening the border of our nations but also our hearts for the Sikh community,” he added.
Khan highlighted the unprecedented gesture of goodwill by Pakistan government saying it as “a reflection of its deep respect for Guru Nanak Dev and religious sentiments of the Sikh community.”
“Pakistan believes that interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence would provide an opportunity to work for larger interests of the people of the sub-continent,” he said.
Even after a series of disputed events that have taken place between the two nations, including abrogation of Article 370, Surgical Strike and Pulwama & other terror attacks, the development of corridor was not at all affected by any governmental forces.
In spite of the differences between India and Pakistan, they have signed an agreement in October 2019, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor. As per the pact, Pakistan government will allow movement of 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily on the corridor to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.