This statement actually means the steps which have been taken for opening the Kartarpur corridor is to maintain the friendly relations with India and to resolve the Kashmir issue through the peaceful talk and also to enhance closer trade links between two Punjab’s in particular. It symbolizes respect for the minority.
‘’You are free you are free to go to your temples, free to go to your mosque or to any places of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion cast or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state”. ~ Quaid e Azam.Pakistan is a peaceful and loving country which protects the biggest minorities and to coexist peacefully with all its neighbors including India. Pakistan has a diverse culture. It is the only country where followers of every religion have complete freedom without any discrimination on the basis of culture creed and religion. After Pakistan came into being in 1947 Mohammad Ali Jinnah promised to give equal rights to all the citizens. Protection of Sikh a religious minority entitled in a civilized state. Quaid –e- Azam offered Sikh the status of free, self-dependent region within Punjab and told them they would be feel comfortable in Pakistan than in India.
If we talked about Guru Nanak then his aim was to promote friendly relationships between the Hindus and Muslim people. The first guru of Sikhism Guru Nanak founded Kartarpur in 1504CE on right bank of river Ravi and established first community here.Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism .He spent his last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur.Mission for opening the Kartarpur was initially started by Bahistan Singh Gorage who involved in the cause for 24 years. Kartarpur shrine was again built in 1925 when it was completely destroyed by floods.
Pakistani government has started working on shrine by repairing it.On Sep 2004 it formally reopened again. Kartarpur is the archeology of Pakistan and we own it. It is a visa free border crossing and secure corridor connecting the Gurdwara Darhar Sahib in Pakistan to border with India. It covers 4.7 kilometers (2.9 miles) 42 acres land from India Pakistan border without a visa making one of the largest shrine in the world. Million dollars have spent on this corridor. It is second holiest place for Sikh after Gudwara Janam Astham in Pakistan.
It can hold up to 5000 pilgrims per day with up to 10,000 able to visit the Gurdwara (the shrine) every day. It opened the door to Sikhs from across the world including UK and Canada. It has opened in Punjab Narowal district. Kartarpur is an example of goodwill and tolerance of unprecedented demonstration. On 26Nov 2018 the foundation stone of Kartarpur Corridor was laid down by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The corridor was completed for the 55th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on 12 Nov 2019. Imran Khan took a good step by opening a corridor.
Reasons for opening a corridor are to tie the issues between the Islamabad and New Delhi regarding Kashmir dispute and to maintain a strong relation between Sikh community and Muslim community.“Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful just and sustainable world” (Robert Alam). I think the Kartarpur corridor can serve as a gesture of peace and confidence between India and Pakistan and it will build intercultural communication between Pakistani Sikh and Indian Sikh. Visitors will come and boost the tourism industry on both sides and likely to share historical and cultural linkages.
It has a US 20$ fee which enhances the economic growth of Pakistan and it is affordable for everyone it give the message of peace, harmony and love. In future it will help both the countries to fight against the poverty. One possibility is that the opening of corridor leads towards the increase in the mutual trading of agriculture products between India and Pakistan. Hopefully it is also a benefit for Afghanistan to trade with access to market in Afghanistan and Central Asia and to support the states of weaker economy.
After 9/11 incident people especially foreigns who are living in different parts of the world they have set image of Pakistan in their mind that Pakistan is a terrorist country and Muslims are the terrorist .By the opening of Kartarpur corridor it would promote soft image of Pakistan across the globe and the image about Pakistan will be changed. I want to end by news article by sharing Louise Diamond quote which is
“The greatest gift we can give to our children is to raise them in a culture of peace”
About Author: She is Doing MS in Media Sciences from Foundation University Rawalpindi Campus