Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said the Kartarpur corridor will act as a bridge and erase enmity between India and Pakistan, reported ANI. The Congress leader crossed the Attari-Wagah border into Pakistan on Tuesday to attend the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of the corridor on the Pakistani side on Wednesday.
The corridor is expected to provide pilgrims an easy passage to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, which is considered one of the holiest Sikh shrines. The Centre on November 22 approved the development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border, while Pakistan has agreed to build a similar corridor in its territory.
“It [the corridor] will increase people to people contact and bring peace,” Sidhu said in Lahore. “This is a corridor of infinite possibilities, of peace, of prosperity, of opening up of trade relations,” he said.
Sidhu also thanked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for making the corridor possible, reported The Indian Express. “The seed Imran Khan had sown three months ago has become a plant,” he said.
On Monday, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone for the construction of the corridor. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took part in the ceremony.
Chief Minister Singh, who was also invited for the groundbreaking ceremony in Pakistan, cited the grenade attack in Amritsar to decline the invitation. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also declined Pakistan’s invitation citing prior commitments, but deputed Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri to attend the event.
Sidhu also addressed the controversial hug between him and Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in August when he visited Pakistan to attend Prime Minister Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony. “The hug was for hardly a second, it was not a Rafale deal,” ANI quoted Sidhu as saying. “When two Punjabis meet they hug each other, its normal practice in Punjab.”