Pakistan and India have now decided to open the Kartarpur border corridor which will greatly facilitate Sikh pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib – located in the Kartarpur area of the Narowal district of Punjab, it is one of the holiest shrines of the Sikh community since it it the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Devji.
India announced on Wednesday that it would start construction of the corridor up till the border. The announcement was extremely well received on the Pakistani end and hailed as a ‘victory for peace’.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the opening of the border would enable thousands of people from the Sikh community to visit their religious places, further generating economic activity in Pakistan. This move was initiated by Pakistan as the government already conveyed its decision to open Kartarpura Corridor for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, and it was decided that Prime Minister Imran Khan will do groundbreaking at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry declared the decision as a ‘victory of peace’, and added that “Indian cabinet’s endorsement of Pakistan’s proposition on Kartarpur border opening is victory of peace lobby in both countries. It’s a step towards the right direction and we hope such steps will encourage the voice of reason and tranquility on both sides of the border”.
There is a general feeling of goodwill towards Pakistan from the Sikh community for the initiation of this effort. Some analysts are skeptical of Indian intentions, claiming that the decision is based more on security concerns, to curb the growing unrest among the Sikh community in India. Whereas others welcome the move and appreciate both parties for a step in the right direction.
According to officials, the date for starting construction is yet to be set, however, the Pakistani government wants to announcement to coincide with the arrival of Sikh pilgrims, and the government plans to complete the corridor’s construction by 2019.