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US welcomes opening of Kartarpur corridor

WASHINGTON: While hailing Pakistan’s initiative of opening Kartarpur Corridor, the US State Department has said it welcomes efforts to increase people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan, ARY News reported on Thursday.

In a statement, the State Department said that “we encourage steps that build confidence and foster dialogue between the two countries.”

The State Department further said that “the normalization of relations between Pakistan and India is vital to both countries, and the region.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of Kartarpur Corridor in Narowal that will connect with India’s Gurdaspur district. The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other government officials.

Former Indian cricketer and member of Punjab cabinet Navjot Singh Sidhu and other Indian ministers were also present at the occasion,

Talking to audience at the inaugural ceremony, Sidhu said “whenever the history of Kartarpur Sahib will be written, name of Imran Khan will be on the top,” because it is a miracle which could not take place in 73 years, but happened within three months with Khan’s initiative.

Calling Pakistani PM an angel for his peace-efforts, Sidhu urged to end all bloodshed between the two countries and thanked the government and army of Pakistan for their positive step.

After Pakistan’s initiative to open the Kartarpur Corridor on the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak next year, India last week had agreed and decided to build the Kartarpur road corridor up to the border with Pakistan.

Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara at the bank of Ravi river in Pakistan is about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

The Sikh community was demanding for a long time to build a corridor linking India’s border district of Gurdaspur to historic gurudwara in Narowal, Pakistan. The corridor will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the shrine in Kartarpur.

According to Indian government, the Kartarpur Border corridor will begin from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and will end at the international border.

On October 4, the Foreign Office had said the opening of the Kartarpur border crossing was conditional on India responding to Pakistan.

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