Pakistan's journey from terrorism to tourism remarkable: UN chief
Calls on India to respect human rights in Kashmir
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has said that Pakistan’s journey from successfully combating terrorism to pursuing tourism was remarkable.
He said this during a visit to Kartarpur Corridor near the Indian border in Narowal on Tuesday, where he was received by Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri.
He visited different sections of the facility including immigration counter, gurdwara and corridor. He was also given a briefing about the facilities being provided to the Sikh yatrees coming from India without any visa.
During the visit, the UN Secretary General also sat for a traditional lunch along with Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and the Sikh yatrees at the Langar Khana.
Besides informing him about the 823-acre long complex of the temple, the Pardhan (elder) of the Sikh community presented gifts to the UN Secretary General.
The UN Secretary General was briefed that the purpose of the corridor is to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to their sacred place. Mr Gutteres also visited Kartarpur Temple’s complex and its art gallery.
Praising Kartarpur Corridor project, the UN Secretary General said that it is a positive step towards interfaith harmony, adding that the step indicated Pakistan’s practical initiative for peace.
“Pakistan’s successful journey from fighting terrorism to tourism is remarkable, and it is welcoming that the state has re-established its writ over the regions affected by terrorism.”
Praising the development work, Mr Gutteres said that it is delightful to see Pakistan’s transformation from terrorism to the path of peaceful development.
Speaking in front of the main temple, the UN Secretary General said "This is a very emotional day...it is wonderful to see the same shrine today Sikhs, Muslims, Christians maybe Hindus all worshipping in harmony and in peace. And this is the best symbol that we can give for a world in peace and for a world in which there is a mutual respect and there is acceptance of what is different, recognising that diversity is a blessing. When we see in so many parts of the world fighting in the name of religion, it’s necessary to say that religions unite us for peace and the best symbol is this shrine.”
Later in a tweet, the UN Secretary General said "I was honoured to visit Pakistan's newly opened Kartarpur Corridor – a corridor of hope, connecting two key Sikh pilgrimage sites. This is a welcome symbol of interfaith harmony."
Address at LUMS
Antonio Gutteres called on India to respect the fundamental rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the students of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) earlier in the day, the Secretary General said “I’m thankful for Pakistan’s services and sacrifices.”
The UN Secretary General who is in Pakistan nowadays visited Lahore on Tuesday where met LUMS students. He will also go to historic places like Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort. He is also scheduled to visit Kartarpur Gurdwara. He will also call on Punjab Governor Ch Sarwar at Governor House.
Speaking at the LUMS ceremony, Antonio Gutteres said that the freedom of expression, provision of food and place to live are the fundamental rights of the people. Acknowledging Pakistan’s global role, the Secretary General said that Pakistan’s services are unforgettable in order to make the world a safer place.
He, however, said that it is not easy to create a balance between individuals and the states, while admitting the lack of equal status among the states, implying that some are more powerful than others.
In addition, he said that in this century the youth has a greater role at the United Nations, and stressed the need for the youth to harmonize with the latest technology.
The UN Secretary General also administered polio drops to a child.