An Indian Sikh pilgrim currently visiting Sikh Holy Shrines in Pakistan, while talking to an Indian Punjabi news channel, said that he had received unprecedented love and respect in Pakistan. He further said that it was this love, affection and hospitality shown by Pakistanis that made him fall in love with the country and its people. The pilgrim also said that while in some parts of India, his turban (part of his religion and appearance) is made fun of, the same turban was greeted with respect and dignity in Pakistan.
However, this is not the only story of Sikh pilgrims falling in love with Pakistan and its people. Similar sentiments were expressed by hundreds of Sikh pilgrims who visited Pakistan from all over the world in recent weeks.
Moreover, the Kartarpur Corridor initiative and its opening by PM Imran Khan has also given a positive outlook to Pakistan’s image globally.
In goodwill gesture, Pakistan opens corridor to Sikh shrine for Indian pilgrims amid wider tensions, read Washington Post’s headline reporting on the historic opening of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan this Saturday. Moreover, many foreign diplomats, who also attended the opening ceremony, were full of praise for Pakistan.
Because of the corridor’s opening, Sikh pilgrims from India will now be able to travel visa-free to a major Sikh holy shrine in Kartarpur.
It was such a monumental occasion not only for Sikhs on the whole but also for Pakistan that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi even thanked PM Imran Khan for taking the initiative. “He (Imran Khan) understood India’s feelings on the Kartarpur Corridor issue, gave respect and, keeping in view those feelings, worked accordingly”, said Modi.
The US State Department also appreciated the initiative, calling it “a step towards promoting greater #religiousfreedom”
However, in all of that, what matters the most for Pakistan is the goodwill and positive PR this initiative has brought, and will bring, to the country. More importantly, by respecting the religious sentiments of the Indian Sikhs and Sikhs around the world, the Pakistani government has made major strides towards negating the anti-Pakistan bias in the Indian media.
Many Sikh pilgrims, while sharing their sentiments with various news channels, argued that they were shocked with the hospitality they received in Pakistan suggesting that it completely negated how their (Indian) media was portraying Pakistan.
Courtesy: Matrix Mag