The decision to open the historic Kartarpur Sahab corridor for Sikhs living in India, who want to visit one of the most sacred places in Sikhism, was not only bold but timely. The decision came at a time when relations between two nuclear neighbours, Pakistan and India are at their lowest. But with Imran Khan in Prime Minister’s chair in Pakistan, things are at least moving, if not changing completely as of now.
Khan, who won elections on a popular mandate, with a promise to set his country on a new course of development, is keen to improve relations with India. In his first address to nation after assuming office, Khan extended the hand of friendship to India but without much luck. His comment about “small people occupying big offices” soared relations further between two Asian arch rivals. But he didn’t give up on his hope and mission. It was a request from Punjab Congress minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu that Khan grabbed with both hands and ordered opening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Sikh pilgrims.
This decision was lauded by many and was termed as an initiative of peace between the two south Asian giants. Pakistan termed this decision as ‘victory of peace.’
While inaugurating the corridor, Khan underlined the need for improving the India-Pakistan relations, argued that mutual trade and cooperation was vital for alleviation of poverty and improvement in social conditions. “It would be sheer madness for two nuclear countries even to think of war,” said Khan.
Khan’s journey of transforming from the biggest heartthrob of cricket to an influential politician is highly impressive and motivating. He is credited for leading Pakistan to its first ever Cricket World Cup title in 1992, defeating England, thereby being termed as the most successful and prominent cricket captain of Pakistan. This champion cricketer surprised the world as an exceptional fast bowler and a great all-rounder, making the game of cricket more popular in his country. He excelled not just in the cricketing arena, but also in the political world and social ground. He retired from cricket in 1992 and entered politics by forming his own party – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice). He established the first cancer hospital in Lahore, after losing his mother to the deadly disease. He is involved in raising funds for various health and educational projects, coming out a helping hand for the underprivileged and deserving.
– Umar Mukhtar