Thousands of Sikh pilgrims are preparing for a historic crossing into Pakistan’s Punjab province to visit one of the religion’s holiest sites after a landmark agreement to allow passage via a ‘peace corridor’ from India.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan are inaugurating the new border crossings at either side of the passage, known as the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, on Saturday.
The agreement comes as a singular example of cooperation between the neighboring nations as high tensions continue to simmer between the pair, particularly over the contested Kashmir region and India’s revocation of special status to the area in August.
The Kartarpur corridor will allow Sikhs direct passage between the holy site Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Punjab and the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur for the first time since the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947. Pilgrims won’t need any visa for their journey.
Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, is believed to have lived and died at the temple in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the 16th century. Speaking during the border opening ceremony on Saturday, Modi praised Guru Nanak as an inspiration for all of humanity, and said the energy from Kartarpur “will give blessings not only to our Sikh brothers but also to every Indian.”
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