Srinagar: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday afternoon inaugurated the historic Kartarpura corridor in the historic city of Lahore.
Besides Khan, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Indian Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu were present at the ground-breaking ceremony.
The 4km-long corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. The corridor will provide Indian Sikh pilgrims visa-free access to the shrine.
As part of the Indian delegation that arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday to attend the ceremony, Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Indian cricket player turned minister, was greeted by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar at Governor House Lahore. The Indian delegation also comprised Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri.
The delegates will be in Pakistan for five days.
“After 71 years, a dream will soon be a reality. In opening the Kartarpur border, both governments have opened a new chapter in which many things previously impossible will be possible,” said Sidhu. He also said that if he is invited for the Pakistan Super League, he will definitely attend.
Pakistani High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood said that the corridor being opened is an important occasion as it signals that relations between Pakistan and India are improving.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said said that the initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan was widely appreciated, including by people in India. He said the corridor will facilitate the Sikh pilgrims to visit their holiest sites in Pakistan.
He also took to Twitter to post pictures of the foreign diplomats attending the ceremony.