New Pakistan-India crossing is a ‘Corridor of Hope’, UN chief says, wraps up visit with call for interfaith dialogue

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday said he had been moved by the show of religious unity he had witnessed in Pakistan after paying visits to a mosque, a Sikh temple and Kartarpur Corridor, the visa-free crossing which alls Sikhs to travel between nearby holy sites on each side of the India-Pakistan border.

“This is a very emotional moment. It is wonderful to see interfaith dialogue” said the Secretary-General, on the last leg of his three-day visit to Pakistan, where, since Sunday, he has pressed for climate action, and praised Pakistan’s compassion for hosting Afghan refugees, as well as the South Asian country’s major contributions to UN peacekeeping.

Speaking to the media in the town of Katarpur after his stop at the Corridor, the UN chief said: “It is wonderful to see in the same shrine today Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, maybe Hindus — all worshipping in harmony and in peace”.

Kartarpur is a town located in the province of Punjab (Pakistan) on the right bank of Ravi River. It is said to have been founded by the first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak in 1504 AD, where he established the first commune. The name means “place of God”.;

To facilitate visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the establishment of Kartarpur Corridor in September 2018.

The “Corridor of Peace” was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on 9 November 2019 on the eve of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The Corridor links Gurdwara Kartarpur Saheb with Gurdwra Dera Baba Nanak, across the border in India.

Echoing this sentiment and urging religious unity and tolerance, Mr. Guterres called the Kartarpur Corridor a “corridor of hope” after he also visited a gurdwara, or Sikh Temple, and the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, he added: “When we see so many parts of the world fighting in the name of religion, it’s necessary to say that religions unite us for peace and the best symbol is this shrine”.

Information taken from: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/02/1057621

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