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Wednesday Nov 28 2018

If Berlin Wall can fall, so can the wall between India, Pakistan: Indian minister

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal crosses Wagah Border to arrive in Pakistan, Nov 28, 2018. Photo: PTV

NAROWAL: An Indian minister on Wednesday hailed the groundbreaking of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan’s Narowal district and called for peace between the two neighbouring countries.

Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, addressing the ceremony here earlier today, thanked the Pakistani government for the historic groundbreaking of the Kartarpur corridor and referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall as an analogy for breaking of barriers between India and Pakistan.

“If the Berlin Wall can fall, then the wall of hate between India and Pakistan can also be taken down,” a visibly teary-eyed Badal said.

"It is a historic day for the Sikh community. History is being written today. Distances are being erased today,” she said, adding that she had “never imagined in her life that she would be a part of this historic moment."

"After 70 years, the dream of devotees has come true. So close, yet so far. Millions of Sikhs like me now have got an opportunity to be invited here to Baba Gurdwara."

Thanking Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said, "Imran Khan's government did what didn’t happen for 70 years."

She added that when she used to watch Imran Khan play cricket she knew he would reach great heights.

"The corridor will increase love between India and Pakistan,” the minister, who arrived in Lahore earlier today via the Wagah Border as part of the Indian delegation, added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation of the corridor today, which connects Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal 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 General 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.

Kartarpur is located beside the River Ravi in Narowal district, some 120km from Lahore and only about 3-4km from the border with India. Settled in 1521 by Baba Guru Nanak, the village is famous for its white-domed Gurdwara Kartarpur Darbar Sahib, which holds religious significance for the Sikh community. Kartarpur is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539.

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