Prime Minister Imran Khan officially inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor at a colourful ceremony on Saturday 9th November 2019, paving the way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their religion’s holiest sites in Pakistan without needing a Pakistani visa.
On the ocasion the Prime minister said “First of all, I congratulate the Sikh community on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak and welcome you all,” he paid tribute to his government’s team for completing the Kartarpur project in a matter of months.
“I salute you all. I had no idea you were so efficient. That means we can do so much more,” he told the government officials.
“I am always so happy to see the Sikh community who have come here. God lives in the hearts of all of us. All the messengers who have come and gone only ever brought two messages, that of peace and justice.
“These two things distinguish us from the animal kingdom,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran noted that the lessons that can be drawn from Guru Nanak’s teachings are about bringing people together and not to spread hate.
“I am happy we could do this for you,” he told the hundreds of Sikh pilgrims. “Believe me, I had no idea of the importance this place holds; I found out a year ago.
He said the inability of Sikhs in the past to visit the Kartarpur shrine was akin to Muslims being able to see Madina from a distance but not be able to go near it.
“That is why I am happy to see you so happy and the way your hearts have nothing but prayers for us.”
Citing the examples of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Nelson Mandela and Sufi saints, the prime minister said a true leader is one who always brings people together and does not spread hate in order to gain votes.
He continued: “The first thing I did after becoming the prime minister was to tell [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi that poverty is our mutual problem, and the way to deal with it is to open our borders to people and trade.
“I met Manmohan Singh during a conference and I remember when he was the PM he had said that ‘the entire South Asia can rise if we solve Kashmir’. And that’s what I told Modi.
“But I am sad to say that Kashmir has gone beyond a territorial issue. This is an issue of humanity, not a territorial dispute.
“The way they [Kashmiris] are being kept like animals. Their rights have been snatched away which the UNSC gave them.
“If Modi is listening, [he should know that] justice brings peace and injustice spreads confusion.
“Let’s rid ourselves of this problem,” he told Modi, referring to the Kashmir dispute. “So we can live like humans.
“Imagine the happiness that will spread and how we will be able to pull people out of poverty.
“I have hope that this is the beginning. One day our relations with India will be such that would have been had the issue of Kashmir been resolved in the beginning (at Partition).
“I also foresee a day when the hatred that has spread in the sub-continent over the past 70 years due to this dispute [will be no more].
“When this problem is solved and Kashmiris get their rights, the sub-continent will see prosperity and our entire region will rise in the world, and I pray that day is not far,” he concluded.
Kartarpur inauguration in Pictures