Tuesday Nov 27, 2018
LAHORE: Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu led his country’s delegation to Pakistan on Tuesday for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor to be held on November 28.
The Indian delegation comprising Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri and Sidhu reached Lahore through the Wagah Border crossing where they were received by officials of the Punjab Rangers.
Speaking to journalists upon crossing the Wagah Border, Sidhu thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for inviting him to the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor. “The seed that Imran Khan sowed three months ago has become a tree now and me and 120 million Sikhs could not be happier. I want to thank Pakistani prime minister and officials,” he said.
“Karturpur corridor will prove to be a path of peace and instead of 60 years, happiness can come in six months through it. This corridor will be the reason that borders between both the countries open,” Sidhu added.
Sidhu said he has brought a message of love and peace and added, “There are numerous artistes and cricketers in both the countries which everyone loves and there need to be cricket matches between India and Pakistan.”
"Religion should not be seen through the eyes of politics," the former Indian cricketer-turned-politician said. Responding to a question regarding criticism by some Indian ministers of his decision to visit Pakistan, Sidhu said, "I forgive those who criticised me."
"I have been a fan of Imran Khan since I was a child," Sidhu said as he joked and recited verses in Punjabi.
Later speaking in Geo News programme Capital Talk, the minister said that India and Pakistan should hold talks to resolves their issues.
All deadlocks can be ended if there is political will, he said.
When asked about criticism in India for him hugging Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa in his last visit here, Sidhu said that he would do the same if he gets the chance to again.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday will perform the groundbreaking of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur District.
India last week gave the go-ahead to Pakistan’s proposal to build Kartarpur corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims wishing to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal District near the Indian border.
The proposal to construct the corridor providing visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims was renewed by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in August this year.
Pakistan will build the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.
The Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province holds religious significance for the Sikh community. It is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539.