A welcome initiative towards normalization of relations between India and Pakistan
On November 28, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor in Kartarpur Village in Pakistan. The ceremony was attended by two ministers of the Indian government — Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, as well as a senior minister of the Punjab government, Navjot Singh Sidhu. Two days earlier, the Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the Indian section of the Corridor near the Indo-Pakistan border.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Shrine of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India with Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan. It will be 4.7 Km long, and include a bridge accross the Ravi river. Pilgrims from India can go to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan through this corridor without need for visa. The government of Pakistan has declared that the Corridor will be open for pilgrims from India from November 2019 — the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Imran Khan had announced his government’s decision to open this corridor at his inauguration ceremony as Prime Minister in August, 2018.
Gurudwara Darbar Singh Kartarpur is one of the holiest shrines of people of the Sikh faith. This is where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion, spent the last 18 years of his life. This is where the Guru first established the tradition of Guru da Langar (free community kitchen). Guru Nanak Dev taught the people to appreciate service and labour. He called upon people to revolt against the caste system and preached the equality of all human beings. He recognised no privileges between men and women; he taught all the people irrespective of caste. He was opposed to the parasitism of the exploiters. His disciples came from all the religions and all the castes, but mostly from the lower caste, from the ranks of the toiling masses. It is believed that his followers built both a Samadhi and a grave at Kartarpur after the Guru passed away. Till today, people of the Muslim faith in Pakistan regularly visit the Shrine and offer prayers. Guru Nanak Dev’s life and teachings belong to all the people of the subcontinent.
The decision of the Pakistan Government to build a visa free corridor so that Indian pilgrims can visit the Kartarpur Gurudwara is a welcome initiative towards normalizing relations between India and Pakistan. All Indians who want an end to the state of hostility between the two countries must unreservedly support this initiative.
Just a week before the groundbreaking ceremony in Kartarpur, three people were killed in a terrorist attack in Amrtisar. Blaming Pakistan for this terrorist attack, various leaders of the BJP and the Congress boycotted the ground breaking ceremony. The intelligence agencies of the Indian government have planted stories in the media as to how the Pakistan government might use the Kartarpur Corridor to carry out terrorist activities in India. Doubts are being created about the intentions of the Pakistan government.
The history of India Pakistan relations in the past two decades shows that every time steps are taken to improve relations between the two countries, terrorist acts are organized in India or Pakistan. The rulers of both countries blame the other for these attacks and backtrack on the process of talks and normalization of relations. The real hand behind these terrorist attacks never gets revealed. It is being increasingly speculated by political forces of India and Pakistan who want peace and friendship between the two countries that the hand of the US behind these terror attacks cannot be ruled out. The US has thoroughly infiltrated the Pakistani state and its intelligence agencies. It is well known that the US has set up, trained, financed and armed numerous terrorist groups in Pakistan, which work at the bidding of the CIA. US imperialism has consistently worked to ensure a permanent state of hostility between India and Pakistan in order to advance its strategic interests in the region. Over the past decade, it has been building a close military intelligence strategic relationship with India. As Pakistan increasingly refuses to be a gun in the hands of the US, the US is encouraging Indian state to play that role.
It is in the interests of the people of both India and Pakistan that relations of peace and friendship are established between the two countries. The Indian state must respond positively to the moves of the government of Pakistan and strive to resolve all disputes through dialogue. The initiative of the Pakistan government to open the Kartarpur Corridor must be welcomed as a positive step.