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Kartarpur corridor opens; Modi thanks Imran

Kartarpur corridor opens; Modi thanks Imran

Dera Baba Nanak, Nov 9 (UNI) The first batch of over 500 pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan through the Kartarpur corridor after its opening on Saturday ahead of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, on Nov 12.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the pilgrims among whom were members of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and all the 117 MLAs and MPs from Punjab.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Akhal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Navjot Singh Sindhu were also part of the group.

The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in this Punjab district.

Both Modi and Imran Khan inaugurated the corridor at their respective ends.

"The opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devi Ji has brought us immense happiness," he said.

Modi thanked his Pakistan counterpart for understanding India's sentiment on the issue of Kartarpur Sahib.

Khan on his part said that the historic event is testimony to Pakistan's commitment to peace.

"We believe that the road to the prosperity of the region and bright future of our coming generation lies in peace," Khan said in a message on the occasion.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said, "It was a good beginning, India-Pakistan relations are subject to many buts and ifs, I hope this is a good beginning to normalise our relation."

Former Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said, "Today is historic and pure. Guru Nanak Dev ji's 550th Birth Anniversary is being celebrated across the world with reverence. Our prayers have been answered today due to our Prime Minister and our Akal Takht. With the opening of the road, we get the opportunity to take Guru Nanak's message to every home."

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was happy because it had been a desire of Sikhs to visit their religious sites in Pakistan for 70 years. "This is a beginning, I hope it's going to continue and many more gurdwaras are going to be allowed," he told Dawn news.

Sikh pilgrims from across the globe have begun arriving here ahead of the opening of the corridor.



India signed the agreement with Pakistan on October 24 on the modalities for operationalization of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Zero Point, International Boundary, Dera Baba Nanak.



The deal allows for up to 5,000 pilgrims a day to cross a secure corridor and bridge between the two countries.

UNI RHK SRJ

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