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Kashmir resolution needs will and vision: Pak PM

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Kartarpur, Nov 28: Pitching, strongly, for peace and friendship between Pakistan and India, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan today said the Kashmir is the only issue between the two countries and if the leadership on either side has the will and vision it could be resolved.

Commenting on the hostilities between the two countries, Khan said that both the countries have erred and quoted famous Punjabi and Urdu poet, Muneer Niyazi: “Kuch shehar de lok bhi zalim sa’n, Kuch sanu maran da shooq vee see ((Yes, people of the city were cruel, but we too were keen to die.)”

“We have to break the chains of past otherwise we will always be busy in blame games without any forward movement,” Khan said while addressing a function during inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor.

He said that past is there to teach us but we should not live in the past.

“We have only one issue and that is Kashmir. We have to resolve it and we can if the leadership on either side of the divide has the will and vision.”

Khan also said his government, the army and all political parties in Pakistan are on the same page to improve ties with India, asserting that all issues, including Kashmir, can be resolved with “strength and will” of leadership of the two countries.

Khan made a strong pitch for better ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours after laying the foundation stone for the historic Kartarpur Corridor linking two revered Gurdwaras on both sides of the border here.

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and India’s Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri and cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu were present during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Addressing a gathering later, Khan said Pakistan and India cannot understand the opportunities God has given to them. He said whenever he visited India, he was told that politicians are united, but the (Pakistan) Army won’t allow the friendship between the two sides.

“I am telling you, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the ruling party, other political parties and (Pakistan’s) armed forces are on one page…We want to move ahead. We want a civilised relationship with India.

“Both countries are nuclear armed. We both have atomic weapons…It is madness for such countries to think (of a war). Only a foolish individual can think one can win a nuclear war,” he said.

Emphasising on improvement of Indo-Pak ties, Khan said there was need for “showing strength, will and determination” at the level of the leadership.

“If France and Germany who fought several wars can live in peace, why can’t India and Pakistan?” the Prime Minister said in Urdu.

“We have just one problem, Kashmir. If man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve? We only need determined leadership on both sides,” he said and reiterated that if India takes one step forward, Pakistan will take two steps forward in friendship.

He said the citizens of both countries want peace and it is just the leadership which needs to be on same page.

The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur.

Prime Minister Khan appreciated the joy on the faces around him.

“The happiness I see in you today, if I were to explain to my Muslim brothers and sisters, is that imagine that you are standing 4-km outside Medina {a city in Saudi Arabia where the Prophet (SAW) is buried} and cannot go in, and you are then given the chance to go. That is the happiness I see here,” he said.

He assured the Sikh community that facilities at Kartarpur Sahib will be even better for 550th birth celebrations for Guru Nanak Dev next year.

Praising Sidhu’s effort for peace between the two countries, Khan said he had become very popular in Pakistan and if he ran in elections here, he would win.

“I hope we do not have to wait till Sidhu becomes Wazir-e-Azam (prime minister)… I want good relationship with India. People want peace,” he said.

Sidhu, who spoke at the event, said there had been enough violence and that the corridor would be a major opportunity to bring peace to the region.

Harsimrat Kaur, who also spoke on the occasion, said if the Berlin Wall can fall, hatred and mistrust between India and Pakistan can also end.

An emotional Kaur said the corridor will bring joy and peace to both countries.

The Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, is expected to be completed within six months.

Thousands of Sikh devotees from India visit Pakistan every year to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Sidhu can win election even in Pakistan: Imran Khan

Kartarpur, Nov 28 (PTI) Navjot Singh Sidhu can win an election even in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday as he wondered why there was a hue and cry back home over the former Indian cricketer’s push for peace and brotherhood during his previous visit to the country.

Khan laid the foundation stone for the historic Kartarpur Corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district to facilitate visa-free movement of Sikh pilgrims.

The corridor made headlines in August after the Punjab cabinet minister and Congress leader visited Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his friend Khan.

Sidhu was later criticised for hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the high-profile event.

“I heard there was a lot of criticism of Sidhu when he went back after my oath-taking ceremony. I don’t know why was he criticised. He was just talking about peace between two countries which are nuclear armed,” Khan said.

“It is foolish for anyone to think there can be war between two nuclear-armed countries as there is no winning for anyone. So, if there can be no war then what other way is there other than friendship?” he added.

Khan said the citizens of both countries want peace and it is just the leadership which needs to be on the same page.

“I am hoping that we don’t have to wait until Sidhu becomes prime minister for there to be peace between India and Pakistan,” he said.

Khan jokingly said that Sidhu has such a large fan following in Pakistan, specially in the country’s Punjab province, that if he ran in elections here, he would win.

“He can come and contest election here in Pakistan’s Punjab, he’ll win,” the cricketer-turned-politician said about Sidhu.

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