Pakistan PM Imran Khan raises Kashmir issue on opening of Kartarpur Corridor

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan raked up the Kashmir issue as he said that Kashmir is no more territorial issue but an issue on human rights violations in the valley and added it has resulted in 72 years of hatred between India and Pakistan. Khan on Saturday formally inaugurated the historic Kartarpur corridor on Pakistani side.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating the corridor on the Indian side thanked his Pakistan counterpart for understanding and respecting India’s sentiments on the issue of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to facilitate the visa-free entry of Indian Sikh pilgrims to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

Khan raked up the Kashmir issue and said it has resulted 72 years of hatred between India and Pakistan. “The resolution of the Kashmir issue will lead to greater prosperity and mutual development of India and Pakistan. India must ensure justice to people of Kashmir. Kashmir is not a territorial issue and but an issue of human rights violations of 80 lakh people. With justice peace comes, Kashmiris should be given justice,” referring to the abrogation of the Article 370 and communication blackout in the Valley.

“Survival of fittest is not a good policy and as justice and humanity are over looked. Only powerful could survive. Leaders unite humanity and those who seek votes on hatred are not leaders. When Modi had become PM, I had said poverty is the use. If we increase trade both nations thus we can flourish. We should sit and talk and sought out our differences,’’ he said.

Khan said, “We believe that the road to prosperity of the region and bright future of our coming generation lies in peace. Today we are not only opening the border but also our hearts for the Sikh community.”

Citing the examples of Prophet Muhammad, Nelson Mandela and Sufi saints, Khan said a true leader always brings people together. “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,” he said.

He hoped that one day the relationship between the two neighbours will improve.

Khan said, “In ten months we have created such an infrastructure, I am very happy with the administration who completed this work. I am happy we could do this for you. Believe me, I had no idea of the importance this place holds; I found out a year ago,” he told a gathering of over 12,000 devotees, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Khan shook hand with former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and exchanged pleasantries.

Earlier, Khan visited different units of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

In his address, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi raking up the Kashmir issue said the doors of Kartarpur have been opened for Sikh pilgrims. “If the Berlin Wall can be demolished, if the Kartarpur Corridor can be opened, then the temporary boundary of the Line of Control can also be ended. It took Manmohan 72 years to cover a distance of four kilometres. If covered earlier it
will have been a totally different picture.’’

Speaking on the occasion, Navjot Sidhu heaped praises on both Khan and Modi for the Kartarpur opening as he said, “You have won hearts. It is the first time since partition that the boundaries have been dismantled. The pain of partition of Punjab suffered in last 72 year nobody heard Sikhs. I am a servant of Guru Nanak’s house. Be more magnanimous and open the borders now. No one can deny my
friend Imran Khan’s contribution. I thank Modi also for it. I am thanking Modi Ji also, it doesn’t matter if we have political differences, doesn’t matter if my life is dedicated to the Gandhi family. I am sending a Munnabhai MBBS-style hug to you Modi sahab for this. Alexander won the world by scaring people, Khan won by winning hearts.’’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor, by flagging off the first batch of over 500 Indian pilgrims from Dera Baba Nanak which was by Akal Takhat Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh (high priest of the highest Sikh temporal body) to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib through the corridor…’’

“I thank Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan miaji. He understood India’s feelings on the Kartarpur corridor issue, gave respect and, keeping in view those feelings, worked accordingly. I also want to thank the workers of Pakistan who worked at a fast pace to help in building the corridor on their side,’’ he told a gathering at the BSF camp in Shikhaar Masiahan, about eight kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak gurdwara.

He said it was his fortune that he was dedicating the corridor to the nation. “I am feeling blessed on this holy land… At this moment I get the same feeling all of you get at the time of doing ‘kar sewa’ (religious service),’’ he added.

He also congratulated everybody in the crowd, the country and Sikhs the world over on the occasion. Modi said he dedicated the Kaumi Seva award given to him by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to Guru Nanak Dev. The opening of the corridor and the Integrated Check Post before the 550th ‘Prakash Purb’ of Guru Nanak Dev has brought “double delight”, he said.

Modi inaugurated the passenger terminal building of the corridor on the Indian side, also known as the Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built 4.5 km-long corridor.

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