Background History of Kartarpur Corridor:
The first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, founded in 1504CE (common Era) on the right bank of the Ravi river. He establishes the first Sikh commune at that place. After his death in 1539. Both Hindus and Muslims claimed it as their raised tomb with a common wall between them in his memory.
During partition in 1947, that region was divided between India and Pakistan. The Radcliffe line awarded the Shakargarh tehsil on the right bank of the Ravi river, including Kartarpur to Pakistan. Moreover, Gurdaspur tehsil on the left bank of the Ravi river to India.
Therefore, in 1948, the Akali Dal demanded that India should acquire the land of the gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur. The demands persisted till 1959, but the Punjab state government controlled by the Indian national congress advised against any notification of the boundary. As Radcliffe award these boundaries to both India and Pakistan.
Sikhs visit Kartarpur
Moreover, Indian Sikhs visit Kartarpur from the time of partition informally by crossing a bridge on the Ravi river. That bridge joins Dera Baba Nanak with Kartarpur Sahib. As the border between India and Pakistan was till 1965. So Sikhs can easily visit Kartarpur. This bridge was eventually destroyed in the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965. Border control became more tightly regulated.
500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak
Therefore, in 1969 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Guru Nanak, Prime Minister of India, Indra Gandi promised to approach the Pakistani government for a land-swap so that Kartarpur Sahib could become part of India.
On the contrary, none of those statements materialized. However, in September 1974, India and Pakistan agreed for visit to religious shrines. Around 2005, the protocol was updated by increasing the number of visits and the number of sites. However, Kartarpur never included in that protocol. Moreover, according to the Indian Ministry of external affairs, India had requested but this was not agreed by Pakistan.
Renovation of Shrine
The Pakistani government started repairing the shrine in September 2000. Therefore, Kartarpur reopens in September 2004.
The Kartarpur corridor was proposed in early 1999 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif. It was a part of the Delhi-Bus diplomacy. Now Imran Khan competed for that corridor for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on Nov2, 2019.
Political and Economic advantages of Kartarpur:
Pakistan is a strong proponent of granting and protecting the basic and religious rights of minorities, [Article 36] of the constitution of Pakistan. The article says, “The state shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interest of minorities, including their due representation in the federal and provincial services”. It will promote religious freedom and harmony of the minorities.
Therefore, Sikhs yatrees from all over the world travel to Pakistan every year and they will stay here and carry out their religious rituals very comfortably. The economic advantage is that they will pay all the spending on Dollar and their all spending like their residents, food, and transportation will definitely give profit to the country.
After this development, Pakistan will facilitate 5000 pilgrims round the year and 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions. That development of Kartarpur cost RS 15 Billion. Pakistan can get an economic advantage from this development. Likewise, if I explain with an example that if 5000 pilgrims visit Pakistan and each one pays 20 dollars so it will become 100,000 dollars per day. It can develop a good economy by Sikh tourists.
The Kartarpur corridor will open doors for the region’s economic growth as mention above and also boost the tourism industry on both sides. It will generate economic connectivity between two Punjab. Pakistan is also considering a similar arrangement for Hindu Pilgrims, who want to visit Katas Raj Temple and Sharda Peeth. This step is another effort to promote regional peace.
Pakistan developed Kartarpur with no foreign investment. Its phane1 was ready before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. This step also an advantage to Pakistan because it can build an image of the country. As India is not supporting the religious minorities and continuously targeting Muslims and other religions. It will be a good step to develop and good relations with Two Punjabs and definitely both countries. Also, it provides a message that Pakistan always wants to redevelop peace throughout the region.
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