On November 9, 2019 on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism),
after a long diplomatic struggle, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor
at a ceremony held at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib complex. The ceremony was attended by over
150 members of the Indian parliament as well and members of Pakistani government. It came
as an unlikely event of peace between the two countries that have been at odds with each other
for decades, especially over the last year.
The corridor is a 4.9 km fenced path that begins at the India-Pakistan border and leads right to
the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib complex. It allows Sikh pilgrims from India to travel for pilgrimages
without a visa. The opening ceremony was attended by around 12,000 members of the Sikh
The significance of this corridor is multifold. Religiously and spiritually, it is the second most
important site for Sikhs all over the world as this is where Guru Nanak spent his last 18 years.
Kartarpur was founded by Guru Nanak and the word “Kartarpur” means “place of God”.
Kartarpur was a place where people of all faiths lived in complete harmony, which is said to
represent the first “Sikh commune”. The site where Guru Nanak is believed to have passed
away is where the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib was built.
The corridor was first proposed by Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Atal
Bihari Vajpayee respectively in 1999 but has taken decades to become a reality due to the
constantly fluctuating relationship between the two countries. It was announced last year that
the corridor would now be built to completion. However, tensions between the two countries
created various obstacles along the way. The heightened situation in Kashmir over the last year,
in addition to issues at the Line Of Control created major obstacles in the completion of the
The corridor, despite being a joint venture, proved to be a diplomatic win for Pakistan with
praise coming in from the international community. This is because while the Pakistani
government and diplomacy were working hard towards ensuring that this idea come to fruition,
the Indian government left no opportunity to belittle us and portray Pakistan as an extremist