Diaspora

Activists of Kartarpur corridor from last two decades honored in Washington

Punjab News Express | April 17, 2019 05:40 PM

WASHINGTON: Guru Gobind Singh Foundation based in Washington has honored activists who have lobbied and worked behind scenes to bring the Kartarpur corridor in the forefront from last two decades. A corridor is being built between India and Pakistan this year to facilitate the travel of pilgrims to visit a Sikh sacred site marking the final resting place of the found of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.

GGSF honored United Sikh Mission based in Los Angeles, Kuldip Singh Wadala, the Late Akali leader in Punjab, Ambassador John McDonald of Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, and Engineer Surinder Singh for their work and contribution to raise the issue of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and lobbying for this cause for over 2 decades in both Pakistan and India.

Sarabjit Singh Sidhu, Chairman of GGSF, said, “Every year, GGSF honors individuals and organizations who have contributed for the betterment of the Sikh community. This year we decided to highlight the contributions of those who have worked on the issue of Kartarpur corridor for so long and yet their role has not been recognized. This corridor is of utmost importance to Sikhs all over the world.”

Ambassador McDonald, 97, came in a wheel chair to accept to the award. He said, "I am so glad for the Sikh community and am happy for you all and hope that peace prevails in South Asia." He was a US ambassador in Ireland appointed by President Carter.

United Sikh Mission, led by Rashpal Singh Dhindsa, started the campaign on Kartarpur Corridor in 2005 and it lobbied the political leaders of all political parties in India and Pakistan. It worked with Former US Ambassador John Mcdonald’s organization, Institute of Multi-track Diplomacy (IMTD) to highlight the importance of this peace corridor. McDonald made a special trip to India-Pakistan border in 2008 and he recommended that this site be declared a peace zone. McDonald was shocked to see the barbed wire that separated Dera Baba Nanak from Kartarpur. This prompted the then home minister Pranab Mukherjee to make a trip to Dera Baba Nanak in 2009 and make a promise to look into the issue of opening of this corridor.

Late Kuldeep Singh Wadala had started organizing the monthly prayers on Sangrand from 2003 onwards and he continued with this public display of Sikh sentiments even during high border tensions between India and Pakistan in the last two decades. 219th prayer was held this month at Dera Baba Nanak, a tradition started by him. This helped raise the issue in the media and among the political circles. McDonald commissioned Surinder Singh, head of an engineering firm in Washington to do a feasibility study on the construction of a corridor at the border and building a bridge over River Ravi.

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