Will Kartarpur Corridor Inauguration Improve India-Pak Relations?

Join The Quint’s Sanjay Pugalia & Mallika Ahluwalia of Partition Museum as they answer your queries on Kartarpur.

Updated08 Nov 2019, 11:17 AM IST
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Pakistan is set to open its doors for Sikhs from India with the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday, 9 November, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, on 12 November.

After the Kartarpur corridor, what’s in store for India-Pakistan ties? Will Kartarpur be the beginning of a new era for the two neighbours? Can Kartarpur be considered part of Pakistan’s new’ image-making’ exercise?

In Conversation with The Quint’s Editorial Director Sanjay Pugalia, Partition Museum’s CEO and co-founder Mallika Ahluwalia expounded on these questions.

“When the Partition took place in 1947, a lot of the communities were stripped off the opportunity to visit their shrines. A similar thing happened within the Sikh community... hence, to get the chance to visit Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur is amazing,” Ahluwalia said.

‘Could Be the Start of Something New’

On being asked if the opening of the corridor could be the beginning of a new phase in India-Pakistan relations, she said: “I think it should be. In August, Pakistan opened the historic Gurudwara Chowa Sahib in Punjab province after 72 years. Now, it's being renovated and people are visiting it.”

She further added: “There are shrines on both sides... I am sure people would like to have access to Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Nizammuddin Auliya shrine. On our side, people would want to go to Nana Sahib, Patti Sahib. It’s intrinsic to our culture, to pay homage to these sites. So, I hope it is the start of something new.”

Talking about what is in store for Indo-Pakistan ties right after the Kartarpur corridor inauguration, Ahluwalia said: “I think when the Partition happened, neither governments had thought that travel between both the countries would stop. People still travelled across the border. In our museum, people told us when the cricket matches took place in the 1950s, people used to travel to watch them.”

“Unfortunately, after the wars, the borders have tightened and inter-country travel reduced. But I hope that going forward, we can find some ways to fruitfully do so,” she added.

Ahluwalia said that she had never heard of such a corridor being constructed for pilgrims to visit religious shrines.

“All over the world, there are holy places where people, irrespective of their faith can visit. But our history with Pakistan and our complicated issues regarding visas have affected this specific issue for a long time.”

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Published: 08 Nov 2019, 07:27 AM IST
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