Big moment, ties to improve enormously: Ex-PM - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Big moment, ties to improve enormously: Ex-PM

Big moment, ties to improve enormously: Ex-PM

Kartarpur (Pak), November 9

The opening of the Kartarpur corridor will “enormously improve” relations between India and Pakistan, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday after he arrived here as part of the first batch of the Indian pilgrims through the cross-border pathway.

Speaking to reporters, the former PM termed the opening of the corridor a “big moment”. “India and Pakistan relations will improve enormously as a result of this beginning,” he said.

The 87-year-old two-time Prime Minister and his wife paid obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. Pakistan PM Imran Khan formally inaugurated the historic corridor to facilitate the visa-free entry of Indian Sikh pilgrims.

He welcomed the first batch of the Indian Sikh pilgrims who entered Pakistan through the corridor which links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur. Manmohan Singh arrived here as part of the first batch, which also included Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, former CM Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and BJP MP Sunny Deol.

Capt Amarinder said the Sikh community had been waiting for a free passage for 70 years and maintained that it was a good beginning.

SGPC members and all MLAs and MPs from Punjab, including ministers, were also part of the first jatha. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first batch of over 500 pilgrims, saying it would be easy to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib after the opening of the corridor.

Asserting that he was fortunate to be able to dedicate the corridor to the country, Modi said the opening of the corridor and the integrated check post would bring double happiness to the people.

According to the agreement between Pakistan and India, 5,000 pilgrims from India can visit the shrine daily and the number can be increased in future.

The requirement of passport and the $20 service fee have been waived for Saturday and for November 12 by Pakistan. Separate events have been organised on both sides of the border to launch the much-awaited corridor ahead of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12. Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world’s largest gurdwara. — PTI

They (Pakistan) have done good work on the infrastructure front. Governments of both countries have done a great job in just 7 to 8 months.  —Sukhbir Badal, SAD Chief

I hope by this peace corridor, harmony and brotherhood will spread. Other shrines in Pakistan like Nankana Sahib should also be opened for direct access for pilgrims from India. —Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister

It was a spiritual and emotional moment. There was an atmosphere of spirituality and religiosity. —Manish Tewari, Anandpur Sahib MP

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