Guru Nanak Airport.
Byline: Ashraf Ansari
Sialkot is currently in limelight for a new reason. This time the Sialkot area is often figures in media as Kartarpur Sahib Corridor near Narowal city is being constructed to be opened to Sikh pilgrims for their pilgrimage or 'yatra' from Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (Indian side) to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. Pakistan is engaged in construction work for the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on its side.
Indians on their side of the corridor are being hard pressed by the Sikh community to pick up speed in their work on the corridor. While Pakistan is jubilantly constructing the corridor on its side to welcome the Sikh Yatris within shortest possible time, the Indians seem to take time for obvious reasons. India seems to have certain reservations over the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.
However, New Delhi cannot afford to block the corridor, again for reasons obvious. For Pakistan the corridor is not merely a new chapter of its history. It is a chance of rewriting of a tragic chapter that was written in blood when Punjab was partitioned in 1947 as a mark of Pakistan's emergence.
The Sikhs not only in India but also those living in other parts of the world are reciproking the goodwill and affection being expressed by the Pakistanis for them, in the wake of the corridor announcement. The Sikhs have come to believe that the people of Pakistan share their mirth as if the corridor would link hearts of the two friends. There is one aspect of the corridor which seems to be out of our focus.
The Pakistani Sikhs or the Sikhs visiting Pakistan should also be allowed to cross border for pilgrimage to Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak Sahib. It would be only natural for the world Sikhs to visit sacred places in Pakistan at Nankana Sahib, Punja Sahib, Babay di Bairi Sialkot and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib and then crossing the border to visit Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak Sahib on the Indian side. Pakistan can expect a large number of Sikh Yatris coming to visit their holy places and then cross the border to go for pilgrimage to their holy place in India through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
The Sikh Yatris from Europe, US and Canada or other parts of the world may be encouraged to arrive in Pakistan by taking flight to Sialkot International Airport. This airport may be named as Guru Nanak International Airport.
Guru Baba Nanak was a son of Pakistan's soil. He merits to receive our tributes. Naming the Sialkot Airport to commemorate a great son of the soil will add to the new chapter of our history that has been written to mark the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. This is in our history that Baba Nanak held our Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in highest esteem and that our venerated saint Hazrat Mian Mir of Lahore had laid foundation stone of the Golden temple in Amritsar. The sacred book of the Sikh religion Guru Granth Sahib contains much from thoughts of Hazrat Baba Farid Shakarganj of Pak-Pattan Sharif.