First lot of pilgrims led by Manmohan Singh reaches Kartarpur

First lot of pilgrims led by Manmohan Singh reaches Kartarpur

In a landmark peace move, Pakistan government opened the Kartarpur Corridor today, for the followers of Guru Nanak, allowing them to visit the revered Sikh Guru's final resting place without a visa.

Some fathers ran, carrying their children on their shoulders.

The Kartarpur corridor, a 4.7-kilometre (2.9-mile) long passage that connects the Sikh temples of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (in India's Gurdaspur) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (in Kartarpur, Pakistan), will be inaugurated on Saturday.

"Generally people say that God is everywhere".

"This is a beginning, I hope it's going to continue and many more gurdwaras are going to be allowed", he added.

Three of the four wars between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947 have been fought over Kashmir. Khan inaugurated the corridor by removing a curtain that was lifted by hot air balloons in the presence of thousands of Sikhs from across the world including India.

The prime minister, who wore bandanna, a white kerchief tightly tied around the head as bare head is considered inappropriate in Sikhism, said he was pleased to have done this for the Sikh community.

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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union ministers Hardeep Puri and Som Prakash were part of the delegation. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, Senator Javed Khan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari and other officials. "Alexander the Great had conquered the world with brute force but you, Imran Khan, you have won the hearts of 14 crore Sikhs and the entire world with love", a gushing Sidhu proclaimed.

"When Sidhu asked me to open the border, I kept it in my mind", Khan told devotees Saturday. But we never imagined we would ever be able to see it and have these feelings'.

The inauguration of the ICP check post facilitated Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

Pakistan's relationship with India has been fraught ever since the birth of the two countries but particularly after the August 5, 2019 incident.

Some residents in Kartarpur complained to AFP that the government had cheated them out of land to expand the complex.

Pakistan has employed hundreds of labourers to spruce up the shrine, including building a border immigration checkpoint and a bridge, as well as expanding the site's grounds.

The corridor's opening coincides with the celebration of Guru Nanak's birthday on November 12.

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