Kartarpur Corridor: Navjot Singh Sidhu thanks 'yaar dildaar' Imran Khan
On Saturday, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the Kartarpur Corridor is an ointment for the wounds of India-Pakistan partition. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor, Sidhu hailed the historic move by the feuding neighbors. He thanked the Prime Ministers of both India and Pakistan for making Kartarpur Corridor a reality. Here's more on what he said.
Sidhu sung praises of his "yaar dildaar" Pakistan Prime Minister during his address. "Imran Khan has made history," he said. Sidhu called Khan the "king of hearts," adding, "Sikandar (Alexander) had won the world with fear and you won hearts all over the world." The cricketer-turned-politician also praised Khan for his friendship and leadership, reciting Urdu couplets.
Sidhu went on to say that Khan is the first Pakistan PM to have taken the initiative to open the Kartarpur Corridor selflessly. He said that Khan took the bold step "without looking at gains or losses."
Further, Sidhu said, "Both sides of Punjab witnessed bloodbath during the partition. You and (Narendra) Modi have applied ointment on the wounds of the people (through this initiative)." He added, "It is the first time since the partition that the boundaries have been dismantled. No one can deny my friend Imran Khan's contribution. I thank Modi ji also for it."
Sidhu set aside his political differences with Modi and said that he sends a "Munnabhai MBBS-style hug" to the Indian PM. He thanked Modi for realizing the dreams of the Sikh community and said the completion of the Corridor within a period of 10 months was nothing short of a miracle. Incidentally, Modi had also thanked Khan for "respecting Indian sentiments".
Referring to his controversial hug with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa last year, Sidhu said that the hug worked. Last August, Sidhu hugged Bajwa during Khan's swearing-in ceremony and later said that Bajwa had promised to open the Kartarpur Corridor. Further, he called for paving the way for India-Pakistan border trade. "Ye dil maange more," he said.
Earlier, Sidhu's attendance at the inauguration ceremony had hung in the balance, as he awaited a response from the Modi government for political clearance. He had written to the Ministry of External Affairs three times, seeking political clearance, after getting a special invite for the ceremony from Khan, his contemporary on the cricket field in the 1980s. He was granted political clearance on Thursday.
PM Modi and PM Khan on Saturday inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor on their respective sides of the border. The Corridor connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, India with the Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, Guru Nanak Dev's final resting place. It extends 9 km and has been inaugurated to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12.