Wednesday Nov 28, 2018
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has termed the opening of Kartarpur corridor a "step towards peace", which the region needed.
"It’s a step towards peace which our region needs," the army chief was quoted as saying by the Pakistani military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Twitter.
"Barbed wire at borders is a measure by a sovereign state to check or deny illegal crossings," General Bajwa said.
"Corridors and gates are for legal peaceful visitors. So is the case for all our neighbours."
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district.
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi were accompanying the premier as he arrived in Kartarpur.
Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri stood alongside the premier as he laid the foundation stone of the corridor.
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 General 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.
Addressing the ceremony, PM Imran thanked the Indian minister and foreign delegates for attending and explained that he witnessed such happiness on the faces of the members of the Sikh community today as Muslims feel when they go to Madina.
"We will keep improving Kartarpur corridor and next year you will see all facilities will be available there," he vowed.
"If India takes one step forward, we will take two steps forward," the premier said, in his renewed offer for talks with New Delhi. "We want to move forward in our relations with India.
"If France and Germany who fought several wars can live in peace, why can't India and Pakistan," he added.