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  • Sikhs from India look at the inaugural foundation plaque near the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism, during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur border corridor, Pakistan Nov. 28, 2018.

    Sikhs from India look at the inaugural foundation plaque near the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism, during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur border corridor, Pakistan Nov. 28, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 November 2018

Pakistan inaugurated a visa-free corridor with India for Sikh pilgrims to promote peace. However, Kashmir still remains a major issue. 

India and Pakistan inaugurated a religious corridor linking a Sikh shrine on the bank of Ravi river in Narowal in the Punjab province of Pakistan Wednesday. This corridor, which will be completed in six months, will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to the religious site in Kartarpur.

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This new initiative is supposed to bolster friendship between the two South Asian rival countries which fought three wars since their formation and independence in 1947.

"Opening the corridor will allow Sikh Yatrees (pilgrims) ease of access for their most reverential place of worship which has been their long-standing demand. This is also reflective of the importance and primacy that Pakistan gives to all minorities," said the statement released by the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“If India takes one step forward, we will take two steps forward in friendship,” said the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan during the inauguration.

His Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened the situation with the fall of Berlin Wall in Germany.

However, during the inauguration, Khan said,  “I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilized relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?” he asked.

Despite multiple attempts at better relations, Kashmir has always been a bone of contention between the two countries since 1947. “The citizens of both countries want peace. It is just the leadership which needs to be on one page,” said Khan.

More than once multiple attempts at a bilateral talk between the countries on Kashmir issue had seen setbacks. The latest one was in September when India canceled a bilateral meeting scheduled on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly drawing flak from Imran Khan who called India’s response as “arrogant & negative.”

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