Pakistan opens Kartarpur
Corridor for Sikh pilgrims,
expects India to follow soon

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ISLAMABAD: More than 8,000 Sikh pilgrims are expected to arrive in Pakistan from all over the world to participate in celebrations marking the 552nd birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, the Pakistani information minister said on Saturday.

Every year, thousands of Sikhs travel to Pakistan to participate in Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations. The main ceremony is held at Gurdwara Janamasthan in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak. This year the celebrations will begin on November 17.  

Kartarpur Corridor

“More than eight thousand Sikh Yatrees from all over the globe are arriving in Pakistan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak,” Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Twitter. 

Pakistan on Friday said that the Kartarpur Corridor was open from its side and India was also expected to allow the Sikh pilgrims desiring to join the upcoming birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak from November 17-26.

“We are all set to welcome thousands of devotees from India and around the world coming to Pakistan for the upcoming birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak from 17-26 November for which elaborate arrangements have been put in place,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said in his weekly press briefing.

He said Pakistan also commemorated the second anniversary of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor-dubbed the ‘Corridor of Hope’ by the UN Secretary-General.

Inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019, the Corridor is a shining example of our efforts to promote interfaith harmony and is reflective of the primacy Pakistan accords to religious minorities in the country.

The spokesperson note with growing concern how minorities in India, particularly Muslims, were being systematically persecuted and ostracized under the Hindutva-driven ideology of the BJP-RSS combine.

Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad

Besides closing its eyes to radical mobs, the Indian authorities are also pursuing anti-Muslim citizenship-related policies and actions, including the mischievous NRC scheme aimed at disenfranchising millions of Muslims, he added.

Acquittal of UN-designated persons

Pakistan has rejected the criticism by India over acquittal of UN-designated persons by the Lahore High Court. “This is not the first time that the Indian media has tried to sensationalise legal proceedings of UN-designated persons and this is basically designed to serve a vested agenda,” Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar told the weekly press briefing.

He said Pakistan’s criminal justice system was grounded on the principle of due process and the rule of law.

“It allows even the convicted individuals the fundamental right to exhaust all legal means that are available to them. The cases reported by the Indian media have not reached finality,” he said. He pointed out that UN-designated persons related to this case continued to be interned after being convicted in other cases.