POST TIME: 8 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Sikhs await opening of corridor to Pak shrine
AFP, Kartarpur, Pakistan

Sikhs await opening of corridor to  Pak shrine

A corridor that will allow Sikhs to cross from India into Pakistan to visit one of the religion’s holiest sites is set to open Saturday, with thousands expected to make a pilgrimage interrupted by decades of conflict. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will see off the first group of pilgrims, and they will be welcomed by his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan at the shrine marking the grave of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak at Kartarpur, just four kilometres (two miles) inside Pakistan. The Kartarpur Corridor marks a rare example of cooperation between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 and in February conducted tit-for-tat air strikes after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops. The deal allows for up to 5,000 pilgrims a day to cross a secure corridor and bridge between the two countries, leading directly to the grave Guru Nanak.

“They are very excited,” custodian of the Kartarpur shrine Ramash Singh Arora told AFP Thursday, saying he hoped the initiative would pave the way for similar access to other Sikh sites in Pakistan in the future. “If you look at the history, the foundation of Sikhism is from Pakistan.” In the months leading up to the opening, Pakistan employed hundreds of labourers to spruce up the shrine, including building a border immigration checkpoint and a bridge, as well as expanding the site’s grounds.