UN chief visits Kartarpur Corridor, terms it 'symbol of peace'

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (C) pays his respects during a visit to the Sikh Shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur, near the Indian border on Feb. 18, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 18 February 2020

UN chief visits Kartarpur Corridor, terms it 'symbol of peace'

  • Guterres says the visit pays tribute to the contribution of Sikh community all over the world
  • He arrived in Pakistan to attend a UN summit on Afghan refugees

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday visited Pakistan’s flagship interfaith initiative, the Kartarpur Corridor, and paid homage to Guru Nanak who founded Sikhism five centuries ago.
“This is the best symbol that we can give for a world in peace and for a world (where) there is mutual respect and acceptance of what is different,” the UN Chief said while addressing a pool of journalists and officials.
Opened last year, the four-kilometer Kartarpur Corridor connects the Sikh shrine of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India’s Punjab region to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan. It allows Sikhs to visit the shrine in Pakistan without a visa. Some 5,000 Indian Sikhs have been allowed access daily.
“Recognizing the diversity is a blessing, is a richness not a threat which we see in so many parts of the world fighting in the name of religion. It is necessary to say that religions unite us for peace and the best symbol is this shrine,” Guterres said, adding that his visit was “to pay tribute to the contribution of the Sikh community all over the world for our planet.”
Guterres was given a tour of the gurdwara complex by a team of government officials led by Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri.
The UN Chief arrived in Islamabad on Sunday as part of his four-day visit to the country to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees, held to mark four decades since Pakistan started hosting displaced persons escaping conflict plaguing neighboring Afghanistan.


530 stranded Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia to return home today

Updated 02 June 2020

530 stranded Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia to return home today

  • According to the foreign ministry, Pakistan is operating three special flights to bring back these citizens from Riyadh
  • The country’s diplomatic mission has so far facilitated the repatriation of over 4,000 Pakistanis from the Kingdom

ISLAMABAD: Three PIA flights carrying 530 stranded Pakistanis and the mortal remains of 16 Pakistani nationals from Riyadh will reach the country today, announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad through an official handout on Tuesday.
“In their efforts, the Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh and Consulate General of Pakistan in Jeddah have so far facilitated the repatriation of more than 4,000 Pakistanis, including 480 Umrah Zaireen [pilgrims] and 195 detainees,” the statement read.
“The Missions are also extending assistance including provision of ration bags to the needy Pakistanis in the Kingdom and coordinating special flights with PIA to facilitate repatriation of stranded Pakistanis,” it continued.
Pakistan’s diplomats are in contact with the country's diaspora in Saudi Arabia, said the official handout, and are doing their best to assist its members within the lockdown constraints.
The ministry also informed that the number of special flights to Saudi Arabia had been increased to expedite the repatriation process.
“As regards expired Pakistanis,” the official handout added, “the Missions have extended assistance in local burial in 40 cases. While the mortal remains of 90 have been repatriated to Pakistan thus far, arrangements are in hand to facilitate the return of those remaining.”
“In line with the directives of the Prime Minister for early repatriation of stranded Pakistanis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue its efforts till the repatriation of all such Pakistanis. In this regard, the Missions are under special instructions to complete the repatriation process at the earliest possible in close liaison with the local Saudi authorities, PIA and relevant authorities in Pakistan,” the statement concluded.