Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday laid the foundation stone for a corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur — the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev — to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.
Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri were present at the event. Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu also attended the ceremony.
Speaking at the event, the Pakistan prime minister called for restarting trade links with India. "When France and Germany, which have fought many wars can live as good neighbours today, why not India and Pakistan," wondered Mr. Khan.
Mr. Khan said he believes poverty in the sub-continent can be reduced if the neighbours restart trade ties. "I say again that if India moves one step forward, Pakistan will move two steps," he added.
Dismissing reports of differences between the government and the Army, Khan said, “When I went to India, I was told that army will not allow good relations with India, I want to say that all institutions are on the same page."
Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first Gurdwara was built here, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died.
The Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, is expected to be completed within six months.
Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. India had proposed the corridor to Pakistan around 20 years back.