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Pakistanis and Indians come together to celebrate the opening of Kartarpur corridor in Canada Featured

The members of Punjabi Business Association of Canada presenting the letter of thanks to Pakistani Consul in Vancouver Fahad Amjad (third from left). The members of Punjabi Business Association of Canada presenting the letter of thanks to Pakistani Consul in Vancouver Fahad Amjad (third from left).

 

The Pakistani and Indian Diaspora came together in Surrey to celebrate the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, which will provide Sikhs access to their historical gurdwara across the international border.

The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, spent the final years of his life in Kartarpur, located close to the now fenced Indo-Pak border in Pakistan.

On the 550th birth anniversary of Nanak next year, the Pakistan government is going to allow Sikh pilgrims to travel without visa through the corridor to visit at the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.

Following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, not only Kartarpur Sahib, but many other important gurdwaras, including the birthplace of Nanak, were separated from the Sikhs in India. For years they have been asking the almighty everyday as part of their daily ardas (prayer) for open access to the shrines separated from the community. Those who live close to the border mostly visit an Indian border security post to see distantly visible Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara through binoculars.

Recently, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that his government is willing to open the corridor. Though Pakistan had made such offers earlier too, the Indian government had remained reluctant and skeptical, citing security reasons. India continues to blame Pakistan for sponsoring subversive elements in India. Nevertheless, the Indian government has now accepted the offer and reciprocated it by deciding to construct their part of the corridor.

These developments have revived the hopes of permanent peace in the region that saw two major wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

On Tuesday, December 18 the Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association (PCCA) organized an event in Surrey, where the Indian Punjabi Sikhs presented a letter of thanks to the Pakistani government through its Consul in Vancouver, Fahad Amjad. The letter was given to Amjad by the team of Punjabi Business Association of Canada led by Jaspinder Brar.

The occasion was the celebration of the birth anniversary of the father of the Pakistani nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Later, the organizers did a cake cutting to celebrate both the birthday of Jinnah and the opening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. A video presentation on the corridor plan was also screened at the event attended by elected officials from Surrey.

Among those who spoke on the occasion was BC Minister for Labour Harry Bains, who was joined on the dais by his party colleagues and NDP MLAs Jagrup Brar and Rachna Singh. Others who spoke were Liberal MP Randeep Singh Sarai, BC Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt and Conservative Party candidate Shinder Purewal.

Former BC Minister and a leading Liberal, Dr. Gulzar Cheema, who hails from Gurdaspur which is close to Kartarpur Sahib, gave background information on the campaign by Sikhs for open access to the shrines separated due to partition.

Prominent progressive businessman Baldev Bath also spoke on the occasion. Others who addressed the gathering included PCCA officials Naveed Waraich, Farukh Sayed, Farooq Rai and a young Punjabi poet, Irvin Singh, who recited a poem dedicated to the opening of the corridor.       

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