Kartarpur (Pakistan), November 28: Foundation stone for long-awaited Kartarpur corridor was laid by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday performing the groundbreaking of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district today.
A large number of Sikh yatris ─ both local and Indian ─ along with Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri, and Indian journalists and foreign diplomats are attending the ceremony.
Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal also addressed attendees with an emotional speech. Guru Nanak spent his last years on the other side of the border, just four kilometres away, she said, adding that at times the chanting of devotees can be heard on the Indian side of the border.
"We have been so close, but so far for 70 years," she said. "Scores of Sikhs are on this journey for the first time today."
"I have no friends, no relatives here [in Pakistan]. I never thought I would be here," she said.
"When we laid the foundation stone [for the corridor] in Indian Punjab, I saw the corridor becoming a reality there and now I am seeing it here."
"Today this corridor will bring everyone together ... It will bring joy and peace to both countries. I beseech you ... to issue postage stamps or coins to commemorate Guru Nanak," she said.
Former cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu who was busy cheering crowd said: "India's Constitution says there will be no discrimination on the basis of caste or creed. Baba Guru Nanak said this 549 years ago."
Terror and talks can’t go together
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has categorically stated that opening of the corridor doesn't mean the resumption of bilateral dialogue between the two countries while reiterating the Indian government's stand of terror and talks won't go together.
She said that the Kartarpur corridor initiative is not connected with the dialogue process with Pakistan and talks can start the moment Islamabad stops terror activities in India.
“We hope that the Government of Pakistan will expedite construction of the corridor in order to ensure that our citizens can pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible,” Said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her tweet on November 24.