Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Pakistan as a path breaking step Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said this initiative will certainly strengthen the bilateral relations and bring people of India and Pakistan closer to each other.In a statement issued here today Mr Badal wished that this is beginning of a constructive and uninterrupted dialogue. "This is indeed a sign of statesmanship as 'rashtraneeti is above raajneeti'. National interest is paramount and it should never succumb to partisan politics," he added.Deputy CM said that PM had visited several countries for the sake of improving bilateral relations between nations which would eventually boost economic ties, enhance educational cooperation and technical assistance then he should go ahead and do so.
Raising the issue of a corridor to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, Mr Badal said this historic gurdwara of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, was located on the Pakistani side in Punjab, just 2 km away from border in the Dera Baba Nanak sector.He said the Punjab government and the SGPC had been requesting the Union government and Pakistan to create a pilgrim corridor up to the gurdwara sahib so that Indian pilgrims could have uninterrupted access to the shrine. Deputy CM said the sentiments of the Sikhs were attached to the gurdwaras in Pakistan and Prime Minister should ask Pakistan's federal government to give free access to them to pay obeisance there.Mr Badal said Pakistan's government should honour the sentiments of the Sikh masses and provide such a corridor in coordination with India. Expressing concern over visa hindrances being faced by Sikh pilgrims, Deputy CM said Mr Narendra Modi should ask the Pakistan PM to ensure an easier visa regime for pilgrims. He also sought the opening of visa offices in Amritsar and Lahore for the convenience of pilgrims, traders and industrialists. EOM