18 Nov 2019

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Brig (Retd) Said Nazir (Defense Analyst):

India and Pakistan have agreed to establish a new cross-border corridor to enable religious devotees from India’s minority Sikh community to visit a historic holy temple on the Pakistani side. The temple is barely three kilometers from the border with India and considered to be the first Gurdwara ever built.  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to get votes in upcoming elections from Punjab where the Sikhs are in majority. So to have a soft corner Modi’s government has also agreed to open the Kartarpur border. However, it is difficult to change Indian aggressive policies towards Pakistan as Indian backed BLA has claimed the responsibility of terror attack on Chinese Consulate General in Karachi. India must grant Pakistan some concessions rather than pursuing a strategic isolationist approach as Pakistan no longer considers itself to be a weak state, being armed with a sizeable nuclear arsenal and a battle-hardened army.

Dr. Farooq Hasnat (IR Expert):

Indian Sikh community lauded Pakistan’s decision to open the Kartarpur Border with India for the access of Sikh pilgrims on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. A pressure was built on Indian government by Sikh community to reciprocate to Pakistan’s gesture. Pakistan has also offered visa-free entry to Sikh pilgrims through Kartarpur border. This decision will not impact the overall Indo-Pak prevailing situation. It could be a political tactic of India government as general elections are due next year. The Kartarpur corridor will provide smooth and easy passage to pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib throughout the year. In August, when Punjab Minister Novjot Singh Sidhu visited Pakistan to attend the oath taking ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa offered him to build a corridor for the Sikh pilgrims and now Pakistan has fulfilled its commitment.

Jyoti Malhotra (Indian Journalist):

It is a great development that Pakistan has offered to establish Kartarpur corridor as it was a long-pending demand of the Sikh community to build a religious corridor linking Gurdaspur with a historic Gurdwara in Pakistan and now it will finally be fulfilled with both the countries. It is also a good gesture that Pakistan has also offered visa-free entry to Sikh pilgrims that will add to joys of Sikh community. Some of the Indian journalist will also be visiting Pakistan through this corridor. The decision of opening Kartarpur border will definitely reduce the prevailing Indo-Pak tensions. Now it is the time that both the countries should forget the past and initiate a dialogue process focusing on resolving all core issues including Kashmir, water dispute and other issues. People of both the countries should have contact with each other in order to eliminate the misunderstandings among them.

Brig (Retd) Aftab Afzal (Defense Analyst):

It is very good initiative taken by Pakistani government. There are many historic temples of Sikh community are located in Pakistan. Sikh community from all over the world would be thankful to the government of Pakistan over this decision. Pakistan has formally posted the invitations to Indian official including Indian Foreign Minister, Chief Minister Punjab and Navjot Singh Sidhu to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kartarpur border corridor. In past, there were certain hurdles for Sikh pilgrims to visit their holy places in Pakistan. Sikh community praises for the Pakistani government’s upkeep and maintenance of some of Sikhism’s holiest sites. Pakistan is the first home of the Sikhs wherever they are in the world. Novjot Singh Sidhu applauded the noble goodwill gesture of the Pakistan government and said that there couldn’t be a bigger happiness for the people of Punjab.

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