Kartarpur opening 'practical proof' of Pakistan's desire for peace, says UN chief

Updated February 18, 2020

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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres poses for a photo with members of his entourage and members of the Sikh community  at the Kartarpur temple. — Radio Pakistan.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres poses for a photo with members of his entourage and members of the Sikh community at the Kartarpur temple. — Radio Pakistan.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres at a breifing regarding the Kartarpur Corridor. — DawnNewsTV
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres at a breifing regarding the Kartarpur Corridor. — DawnNewsTV
A traditional orange kerchief being tied on the UN secretary general's head before he went to visit the newly-renovated gurdwara.  — DawnNewsTV
A traditional orange kerchief being tied on the UN secretary general's head before he went to visit the newly-renovated gurdwara. — DawnNewsTV

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is “a practical proof of Pakistan's desire for peace and interfaith harmony”, reported Radio Pakistan.

He made the remarks on his visit to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur and the Kartarpur Corridor, which was inaugurated last year. Terming the opening of the corridor a "good step", the UN chief said that it would promote interfaith harmony.

Separately on Twitter, the UN chief called the Kartarpur Corridor "a corridor of hope, connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites", adding that it is a "welcome symbol of interfaith harmony".

During his visit, the UN secretary general was given a special briefing on the development of the Kartarpur Corridor. Guterres was then taken on a tour of the gurdwara.

Inside the temple, Guterres met various Sikh religious leaders and was presented with mementos to commemorate his visit.

Guterres also visited the on-site soup kitchen at the gurdwara, where he was served a traditional meal of rice and lentils. The kitchen caters to all Sikh pilgrims visiting the gurdwara, providing them free meals as is traditional at all Sikh temples.

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Minister of Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri accompanied the UN secretary general on the visit.

The four-kilometre-long corridor, which was inaugurated on November 9, provides pilgrims a visa-free link between Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Indian Punjab. Up to 5,000 Indian Sikhs have been allowed access daily, with plans to eventually double the capacity.

Earlier today, the UN chief spoke at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, where he stressed the importance of using modern technology and updating the curriculum. He also spoke about the increasing threat of climate change and the importance of taking measures to control population growth.

Guterres had also visited a school in Lahore where he administered polio drops to children. He admired the efforts being made by the state to eradicate the crippling disease from the country, Radio Pakistan reported.