Kartarpur Corridor shows Pakistan's 'unwavering commitment' towards religious freedom: Army chief Bajwa

Islamabad: The landmark Kartarpur Corridor is the practical manifestation of Pakistan's "unwavering commitment" towards religious freedom and harmony, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told a delegation of British Sikh soldiers.

Headed by Major General Celia J Harvey, Deputy Commander Field Army UK, the 12-member group met General Bajwa at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

During the meeting, Bajwa told the delegation that Pakistan respects all religions and also recognises the need for promotion of religious tourism in the country, according to the army.

"Kartarpur Corridor is the practical manifestation of Pakistan's unwavering commitment towards religious freedom and harmony, he said, amidst frequent attacks on the minority communities, including targeted killings of Sikhs, in the Muslim-majority country.

In November 2019, the then Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan formally inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as part of the commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at a colourful ceremony, paving the way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their religion's holiest sites in Pakistan without needing a visa.

The Kartarpur Corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in India's Punjab state.

The 4 km-long corridor provides visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

The British Sikh soldiers visited Lahore where the dignitaries witnessed flag lowering ceremony at Wagah border. They also visited Lahore Fort, Allama Iqbal Mausoleum and Badshahi Mosque.

During their stay, the delegation visited several religious sites in the country and also went to Orakzai District and witnessed Samana Fort, Lockhart Fort and Saragarhi Monument.

The monument marks the place where 21 Sikh soldiers laid their lives in 1897 while fighting against the local tribal rebels as part of a British expedition and has much historical significance for Sikhs. The delegation also laid a wreath at the Saragarhi Monument.

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