United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India is a practical sign of Pakistan’s desire for peace and interfaith harmony, PTI reported. Guterres made the remark after visiting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, said to be the final resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhik Committee and Evacuee Trust Property Board officials received Guterres at the Kartarpur Sahib, 125 km from Lahore. A Sikh boy presented Guterres a bouquet.

The Pakistani officials told the UN chief that Prime Minister Imran Khan took the initiative to build the Kartarpur corridor. The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district. The Kartarpur Corridor was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Indian side and Khan across the border on November 9, 2018.

“This is a very emotional moment... and I cannot be here without having a very strong feeling,” Guterres said after his visit. “It is wonderful to see interfaith dialogue. It is wonderful to see in the same shrine today Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, maybe Hindus, all worshipping in harmony and in peace.”

The UN chief added that the corridor symbolises that “we can give for a world in peace and for a world in which there is a mutual respect and there is the acceptance of what is different recognising that diversity is a blessing, is a richness, not a threat”. Guterres said it was unfortunate to see people fighting over religion in many parts of the world.

Later in the day, he visited Badshahi Masjid and had dinner at Hazuri Bagh area outside the Lahore Fort. Guterres also inaugurated an anti-polio campaign in Lahore. Pakistan is one of the only three countries in the world which is yet to eradicate polio.

In November, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had lashed out at Pakistan Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid, for saying that the project was the brainchild of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Singh said Rashid’s remark had exposed Islamabad’s “nefarious intent behind the initiative”.