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PM Imran Offers India To Begin Dialogue For Peace

Narowal (November 28, 2018): Prime Minister Imran Khan said that good relations are vital for both Pakistan and India.

Addressing the ceremony which was attended by Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, government officials, Indian ministers and foreign diplomats, PM Imran thanked those in attendance and vowed, “We will keep improving Kartarpur corridor and next year you will see all facilities will be available there.”

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Prime Minister said that peace is the only way forward for India and Pakistan as it is foolish to think that two nuclear-armed nations can go on war.

The premier performed the groundbreaking of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur District.

Speaking about his cricketing days, PM Imran said, “There were two kinds of cricketers — one who were scared of losing and took no chances and the other who took risks and were always successful.” The premier continued that when he entered politics he also came across two kinds of politicians. “One who sacrificed the public good for their own benefit and the other who thought about the society, did not spread hate, took chances and big decisions as well.”The premier added, “All of Pakistan’s institutions are on the same page today.”

Speaking about the need for better relations between India and Pakistan, the premier said, “If we want to end poverty borders should be opened.”

Renewing his offer for talks, the premier said, “If India takes one step forward, we will take two steps forward.”

“We want to move forward in our relations with India,” he asserted. “If France and Germany who fought several wars can live in peace, why can’t India and Pakistan,” the premier added.

Speaking about criticism of former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for attending his oath-taking ceremony, PM Imran said, “I don’t understand why he was criticised, Sidhu was talking about peace between two countries which are nuclear armed.”“It is foolish for anyone to think there can be war between two nuclear-armed countries as there is no winning for anyone. So, if there can be no war then what other way is there other than friendship?” the premier said.

“I invite Sidhu to contest elections from Pakistan’s Punjab and I know he will win. Hopefully we will not have to wait for Sidhu to become prime minister for relations to improve between the two countries and before that, Indian leadership will take positive steps,” PM Imran joked.

Prime Minister Imran Khan lauded the happiness and joy on the faces around him.

“Happiness I saw today was like of those Muslims who are standing 4 km away from Medina on other side of the border, but are unable to visit it, but when they get chance to visit it, the happiness they get is the happiness they are relishing today,” he asserted.

He vowed to improve the facilities at the Kartarpur gurdwara.“It is useless to live in the past. It should only be utilized to learn lessons from mistakes. Our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward and have a civilized relationship,” PM Khan suggested.

“The only issue between us is Kashmir, all it needs is just two capable leaderships to resolve this issue. Just imagine the potential we have if our relationships get strong,” said the premier.

“If India takes one step forward, we will take two steps forward in friendship,” he reiterated.Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur District.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, government officials, Indian ministers and a group of Indian journalists.

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The ceremony was also attended by ambassadors of several countries as well as local and Indian Sikh pilgrims. Other foreign diplomats were also in attendance.

Earlier yesterday (November 27), former Indian Cricketer and Minister of Indian Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu along with Indian delegation also arrived through Wagah Border in Lahore on Tuesday to attend the ceremony.

The Indian delegation comprising Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri and Sidhu reached Lahore through the Wagah Border crossing where they were received by officials of the Punjab Rangers.

Talking to newsmen at the border, he said Kartarpur will be peace Corridor between two countries.

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He said that the religion should never be seen with the political eye. He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has fulfilled its promise.

He said that he is thankful to Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.

He said that Indian people are waiting for Pakistan India cricket matches as well.

Later talking to media in Lahore, Navjot Sindh Sidhu said that tomorrow’s opening ceremony of Kartarpur will make history as no such event has taken place in the last 71 years since independence.

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Sidhu while expressing his gladness over the event said, “Tomorrow is an extremely special day for crores of people, I will take the holy soil back to India from Kartarpur.”

Further, while thanking the Premier Imran Khan he said, “Due to Guru Nanak and the Angelic Prime Minister [Imran Khan], ways to Kartarpur have opened.”

Earlier on November 22, in a message posted on micro-blogging website Twitter, the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that Pakistan has already conveyed to India its decision to open Kartarpura Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

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“PM Imran Khan will do break ground at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion,” the minister added.

He also invited his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu to Pakistan on Saturday (November 25), however after receiving the invitation, Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj excused from attending groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur border crossing between India and Pakistan.

The foreign minister took to Twitter on Saturday to state that three Indian politicians were invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at Kartarpur on Nov 28, 2018.

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On behalf of Pakistan I have extended an invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj @SushmaSwaraj ,Capt Amarinder Singh @capt_amarinder & Navjot Singh Sidhu @sherryontopp to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at #Kartarpura on 28 Nov, 2018.#PakistanKartarpuraSpirit,” Qureshi tweeted.

Replying to his tweet, Sushma Swaraj thanked FM Qureshi for invitation but declined the invitation.

“I thank HE Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi Foreign Minister of Pakistan for inviting me to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor on the Pakistan side of the International boundary on 28 November 2018,” Sushma said on Twitter.

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“Since I am unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib on the scheduled date, Government of India will be represented by my esteemed colleagues Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Mr. H. S. Puri.”

However, the Indian minister expressed hope that the construction of the corridor would be expedited so that Indian citizens could pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.

Earlier on September 23, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain informed media that the federal cabinet has formally approved opening of Kartarpura corridor to facilitate Sikh community of India.

Briefing media in Islamabad on Friday, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform opening of Kartarpur border corridor on Wednesday.

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He said that Kartarpur is a sacred place for Sikh community living across the globe.

The Minister said that it was a longstanding desire of the Sikh people to facilitate them in visiting their sacred places so that they can perform their religious rituals there.

He said that visa free entry will be provided to Sikh pilgrims from India and a mechanism in this regard is being finalized.

The Minister said that it will be a mega event and visa relaxation will be offered to Indian journalists enabling them to attend the event.

On the Indian side, the Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also approved the development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the International Border. This will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi river, in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared the Kartarpur border corridor with the Berlin Wall.

A political row had erupted in India after Navjot Singh Sidhu visited Pakistan in August this year to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister.

He claimed that Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had told him that Islamabad would open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan on the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019.According to Indian media, Sidhu subsequently met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to initiate talks between India and Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor issue.

After the meeting, Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said Swaraj accused Sidhu of messing up the Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue and misusing the political clearance that he was granted to visit Pakistan.

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is three kilometres from the India-Pakistan border, is the final resting place of Guru Nanak.

Kartarpur Sahib is located across Ravi river in Pakistan and is about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

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