Pakistani PM inaugurates corridor to facilitate Indian Sikhs

"But today, what's happening in Kashmir is more than just a territorial issue", Khan said in his welcome address to Indian pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

However for Indian Sikhs, it has remained tantalisingly close - so close they could stand at the border and gaze at its four cupolas - but out-of-reach for decades.

On the inaugural day, 562 pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan to offer prayers at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur after the much-awaited corridor was opened, officials said on Saturday.

Corridor (a region divided in Punjab during the British Indian division in 1947) a few days before the 550th anniversary of the birth of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak on November 12 open.

PM Modi inaugurated the passenger terminal building, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built corridor. Two days later the foundation stone was laid on the Pakistani side. Visas to travel between Pakistan and India are normally hard to obtain. India and Pakistan signed the agreement on October 23, 2019.

The inauguration ceremony for the Corridor on the Indian side will also be held on Saturday.

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He said that the Sikh pilgrims from different countries, including Canada, Britain, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, New Zealand, and Australia will attend the inauguration ceremony. "Among the top dignitaries is former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh".

"As a special gesture, Pakistan announced concessions on the auspicious occasion of 550th Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak to facilitate pilgrims".

'Our lifetime wish has been fulfilled, we never imagined this, ' said Manees Kaur Wadha, an Indian pilgrim who came to Pakistan last week after managing to secure a visa, and was already at the shrine early Saturday.

He said while being in Baghdad, Baba Guru Nanak used to visit the shrine of Imam Kazim daily which gave a message of harmony as he had devoted his life for peace and harmony.

"If you look at the history, the foundation of Sikhism is from Pakistan".

  • Sonia Alvarado