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How Pakistan outsmarted India using soft diplomacy?


News Desk |

Gurdwara Punja Sahib echoed with religious slogans of Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh on Sunday morning as pilgrims from across the world poured into the third most sacred place of Sikh religion in Hassanabdal to celebrate the 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Over 3,800 Indian Sikh pilgrims, 148 from the United Kingdom, seven from UAE and thousands of Sikh and Hindu devotees from various parts of the country, especially Fata and interior Sindh, arrived at the gurdwara to perform their rituals which include Akhand Path, Ashnan, Matha Teak, and Kirtan.

A political row had erupted in India after Navjot Singh Sidhu visited Pakistan in August this year to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister.

Elaborated security measures were taken in and around the gurdwara where dozens of officials from the security agencies were deployed.

Talking to the media, leader of the Indian pilgrims Marjeet Singh lauded the role of the Pakistani government in opening Kartarpur corridor. He said with the opening of this corridor, the Pakistani government had won the hearts of millions of Sikhs living on the other side of the border. The number of pilgrims had also increased compared to last year, he added.

Kartarpur Corridor: A new hope for peace

Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone of Kartarpur corridor on November 28, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed on Thursday. India also has seemingly accepted the proposal by approving development on the Indian side.

Read more: Sikh Pilgrims rejoiced with a ‘Bhangra’ welcome in Pakistan

In a message posted on micro-blogging website Twitter, the Foreign Minister stated that Pakistan has already conveyed to India its decision to open Kartarpura Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. “PM Imran Khan will do break ground at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion,” the minister added.

On the Indian side, the Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also approved the development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the International Border. This will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi river, in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years.

For many, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor is a welcome step in the right direction for peace. The announcement was immediately welcomed by Islamabad as ‘victory for peace’.

A political row had erupted in India after Navjot Singh Sidhu visited Pakistan in August this year to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister. He claimed that Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had told him that Islamabad would open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan on the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019.

According to Indian media, Sidhu subsequently met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to initiate talks between India and Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor issue. After the meeting, Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said Swaraj accused Sidhu of messing up the Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue and misusing the political clearance that he was granted to visit Pakistan.

Read more: Kartarpur Corridor: A new hope for peace

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is three kilometers from the India-Pakistan border, is the final resting place of Guru Nanak. For many, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor is a welcome step in the right direction for peace. The announcement was immediately welcomed by Islamabad as ‘victory for peace’.

Many Sikhs across the world have also welcomed the developments on the Kartarpur border.

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