Washington, DC – On his recent visit to the US, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had a successful event with Pakistani diaspora where more than twenty thousand were in attendance. Khan also had his maiden meeting with the US President Donald Trump at the White House, while his accompanying Army Chief Bajwa was given a Guard of Honor with Gun-salutes at the Pentagon by his US counterparts.
As an active member of the Sikh Community, I felt a pang of pain as I waited for the diverse leadership of the community organizations or even chiefs of the Sikh Temples (Gurdwaras) to rally together to make an attempt to meet the visiting Pakistani leader to thank him for his services to the Sikh Koum (community).
The recent planning and ongoing building with proposed opening soon of the Kartarpur Corridor can be attributed to an active interest of the Pakistani prime minister Khan. Kartarpur Corridor will be built across Indian and Pakistani Punjab, linking Dera Baba Nanak to the Holi Sikh shrine near Lahore, in Pakistan where the first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev breathed his last.
The former famous cricketer has very cordial relations with his counterparts globally and even in India – like Navjot Singh Sidhu. It is an open secret that cricketer turned politician Sidhu used his personal equation with Khan (also cricketer turned politician) to push for the Corridor.
Over the years, several Sikh organizations around the world, and the late Ambassador John McDonald, a longtime American diplomat and international peace-building expert, were instrumental in helping lead efforts to establish the Pakistan-India Kartarpur Peace Corridor.
Everyday all over the world, wherever Sikh congregations or individuals pray (Ardas), there are clear-cut words in there asking for the blessings for the Sikh communities to be able to visit and pay respects to all the religious places where it is difficult to travel due to government restrictions. Kartarpur Corridor is a blessed answer to those prayers.
As part of an ongoing dialogue, Indian and Pakistani delegations met recently to discuss the Kartarpur Corridor issues such as the number of pilgrims allowed, along with security and technical aspects. According to reliable reports, the Pakistani side has agreed to allow 5000 Sikh pilgrims on a daily basis without visas for Indian citizens and also for OCI card holders.
The reports suggest a very positive optimistic look on the Kartarpur Corridor project and time has come for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Indian government to do the needful so the atmosphere of peace and harmony can be developed based on the basics of the Kartarpur Corridor project.
Guru Nanak, although accredited as the First Guru of Sikhism, in fact has a wider following across the spectrum of many religions as his spirituality touched many lives and he is still a beacon of peace and serenity for all. With his 550th birth anniversary in November 2019, the time is also ripe for two neighbors to proceed on a peace path for the sake of populations on both sides of the border.