562 pilgrims use Kartarpur corridor on first day

The Kartapur Corridor will be opened on Saturday

"But today, what's happening in Kashmir is more than just a territorial issue", Khan said in his welcome address to Indian pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

The proximity of the shrine, known in Sikhism as a gurdwara, is such that Indian Sikhs can stand at the border and gaze across the divide at the building's four cupolas.

Workers shining a floor at the Shrine of Baba Guru Nanak Dev at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib ahead of its opening in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur near the Indian border.

Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had first shared the idea of opening Kartarpur Corridor with Mr Sidhu when he a year ago visited Pakistan for attending PM Imran Khan's inauguration.

Sikh pilgrims show their documents to police before crossing over to Pakistan.

The prime minister, who visited the huge Kartarpur complex to review the arrangements, also welcomed former Indian Prime Minister Sardar Manmohan Singh and his cricketer friend Navjot Singh Sidhu as they went through the immigration process at the terminal.

But the tension between India and Pakistan makes it hard for the temple to enter in recent years.

Pilgrims on both sides of the border hoped the corridor might herald a thaw in South Asian tensions. He said Pakistan and India can resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue.

Imran Khan said Pakistan believes that interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence would provide an opportunity to work for larger interests of the people of the Sub-continent. But we never imagined we would ever be able to see it and have these feelings'.

Eight days of celebrations to mark Shree Guru Nanak Dev Ji's 550th birth anniversary will begin this Sunday with a focus on climate action, world peace, women and youth empowerment, service to mankind, culture and arts at the Samabula Sikh Temple.

Taking a swipe at those who had criticised him for hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during Khan's swearing-in ceremony last August, he said the hug has worked.

"As a special gesture, Pakistan announced concessions on the auspicious occasion of 550th Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak to facilitate pilgrims".

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