UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Saturday welcomed the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, saying the initiative paves the way for interfaith harmony and understanding.
In a historic people-to-people initiative, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday inaugurated the historic corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur.
The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is located across the Ravi river in Pakistan and is about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur.
"We welcome #Pakistan and #India opening #KartarpurCorridor today connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites, paving way for interfaith harmony and understanding by facilitating visa-free cross border visits by pilgrims to holy shrines," spokesperson for the Secretary General tweeted.
According to the agreement between Pakistan and India, 5,000 pilgrims from India can visit the shrine daily and the number can be increased in future.
The requirement of passport and the USD 20 service fee have been waived for Saturday and for November 12 by Pakistan.
Separate events were organised on both the sides of the border to launch the much-awaited corridor ahead of founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary on November 12.
The inauguration of the corridor comes in the midst of frayed ties between India and Pakistan following New Delhi's decision in August to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, India and Pakistan after tough negotiations signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9.
Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world's largest Sikh Gurdwara.