PHOTO BY: Tejinder Singh
Morgan for web

Morgan Ortagus, the State Department Spokesperson



Washington, DC – The United States reaffirmed its pleasure at the construction of a new border entry point and road to facilitate the visits of Sikh pilgrims from India to a Sikh shrine in Pakistan.

Asked to comment on “Kartarpur Corridor,” by IAT, Morgan Ortagus, the State Department Spokesperson questioned back at the daily briefing on Tuesday (July 16), “Yeah, that was certainly a good news report, wasn’t it?”

“We encourage it. Anything that increases people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan is something that we’re incredibly supportive of,” added Ortagus with a smile.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, the main architect behind the “Kartarpur Corridor” for the Sikhs, is meeting US President Donald for the first time on Monday (July 22) in the White House.

The agreed construction of ”Kartarpur corridor” which will have a new border entry point and road to allow Sikh pilgrims a direct access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur – one of the holiest shrines for Sikhism – will lead from the Indian border straight to the Gurdwara (Sikh Temple), with the sides fenced off.

The move, which was welcomed enthusiastically by the Sikh community worldwide, represented a much-needed instance of co-operation between the two countries who have fought three wars against each other since independence.

History

The Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib was built on the site where Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, died in the 16th Century. The Gurdwara is located only around 2.5 miles from the border with India, but tensions between the two nuclear-powered neighbors have made it impossible for the Sikh pilgrims to visit easily.

Sikhism, followed by more than 25 million people around the world, was born in Punjab, a region that was divided between the two countries during partition in 1947. The religion’s founder, Guru Nanak, spent the last 18 years of his life there. The corridor is scheduled to formally open next year, in time for the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth.

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