Pakistan, India reopen Kartarpur hall for Sikh pilgrims

Indian pilgrims arrive in Pakistan to go to certainly one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines for start anniversary festivities of the faith’s founder.

Sikh pilgrims have begun to arrive in Pakistan to go to certainly one of their holiest shrines earlier than the start anniversary of the faith’s founder after India gave them the inexperienced mild to cross the border.

The Kartarpur hall is a visa-free crossing permitting Indian Sikhs to go to the temple simply 4km (2.5 miles) inside Pakistan the place Guru Nanak died in 1539.

The hall first opened in 2019 for Nanak’s 550th start anniversary however was closed final 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hall connects Pakistani and Indian Punjab, the birthplace of Sikhism, which was divided between the 2 international locations after they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

MAP for Guru Nanak feature - KARTARPUR CORRIDOR, Pakistan, India

Sikhs are a tiny minority in Muslim-majority Pakistan, though a lot of their non secular websites stay there.

Pakistan and India have a historical past of bitter relations, having fought three full-scale wars since independence over Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the 2 international locations in components however claimed by each in its entirety.

Hailed as a peace hall, the Kartarpur crossing was reopened because the nuclear-armed South Asian rival nations upheld their ceasefire settlement within the disputed area for months.

KartarpurSikh pilgrims gesture as they return from the Gurdwara Darbar Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on the event of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s start anniversary, at Kartarpur hall [Narinder Nanu/AFP]

“In a major decision, that will benefit large numbers of Sikh pilgrims, PM @narendramodi govt has decided to re-open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from tomorrow,” India’s Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted on Tuesday.

“I am sure that [the] govt’s decision to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor will further boost the joy and happiness across the country,” Shah added.

Dozens of Sikh women and men from India crossed into Pakistan on the primary day of the reopening, stated Haji Ashraf, a Pakistani official who obtained the pilgrims on Wednesday.

Sikh pilgrimsSikh pilgrims go to the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan [File: K M Chaudary/AP]

Thousands extra had been anticipated to cross by the hall within the coming days to take part in an annual celebration on Friday.

Guru Nanak spent the final 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib. His white-domed shrine is seen from throughout the border in India.

Sikh pilgrims from India have a troublesome time visiting it and have lengthy been demanding a street hyperlink and easing of travel permits.

India additionally opened the Wagah border crossing in Punjab for the weeklong celebrations in Kartarpur.

KartarpurIndia’s Border Security Force personnel stand guard on the entrance of the Kartarpur hall [Narinder Nanu/AFP]

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