Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu showered praises on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing a gathering at the ground breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Pakistan on Wednesday.
Sidhu, who was one of the three Indian politicians who attended the inauguration ceremony of the corridor in Pakistan, recited a poem in praise of Imran Khan ending it with “Mera yaar dildaar, Imran Khan jive (may my dear friend Imran Khan thrive, live)”.
The cricketer-turned-politician said that Imran Khan has been a good friend and delivered on his promise. He added that Khan’s name will be written in “golden words” in history for his decision to open the corridor – something that never happened in 70 years since India and Pakistan gained freedom.
Sidhu called Imran Khan “an angel” for giving a green signal to the long-pending demand of a corridor to the Sikh shrine.
“Both the government should realise that we have to move forward. My father used to tell me that Punjab Mail went till Lahore. I believe that it can go further till Peshawar, till Afghanistan,” said Sidhu amid slogans of Jo Bole So Nihal by the members of the Sikh community present at the ceremony.
Sidhu called for peace between the two nations adding that the corridor will unite the people. He said that bloodshed and violence should be stopped as war is not solution to any problem.
India had been proposing the opening of the corridor for over 20 years. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, too, had raised the corridor issue during his visit to Lahore in 1999 but Pakistan did not respond.
In her speech, Union minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that the ground breaking for the corridor in Pakistan is a historic day.
She praised both the Pakistani PM and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a decision to open the corridor that would allow Sikh pilgrims to visit the historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.
“I have followed Guru Nanak’s calling and come here for the ceremony. I am immensely happy that both the governments agreed on it. I hope this removes all bitterness,” Badal said.
“If Berlin Wall can be brought down, why cannot we erase the differences between India and Pakistan,” she said echoing what PM Modi had said in New Delhi on 25 November regarding the development on the corridor.
“It can be a new beginning in the name of Baba Nanak who said ‘na koi Hindu na koi Musalman lekin ek Onkar’,” she said.
Earlier today, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the ground breaking ceremony at an event in Narowal, 120 kilometers from Lahore. The event was also attended by Union minister Hardeep Puri.
Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was also in attendance.