Pak PM Imran Khan urged to reopen border

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Congratulating Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for showing “admirable magnanimity” in the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims, a US-based advocacy group has urged him to now reopen the Khokhrapar-Munabao border with India for millions of Hindu and Muslim devotees.

The opening of the Khokhrapar border would facilitate millions of followers of Saint Moinuddin Chishti to visit Dargah Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan. It will also allow Hindu pilgrims to visit the Hinglaj Mandir in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.

The group represents Mohajirs, Urdu-speaking Indian Muslims who settled in Pakistan after the Partition. It says on its website it is “committed to raising global awareness about the plight of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi”.

“Now that your government has shown admirable magnanimity by opening the Kartarpur crossing making it convenient for Sikh pilgrims to visit their sacred places in Pakistan, I would request you on behalf of millions of Muslim and Hindu followers of Saint Moinuddin Chishti and Hinglaj Devi respectively to show similar generosity by opening Khokhrapar-Munabao border with immediate effect,” the group’s Nadeem Nusrat said in a letter to the Pakistan prime minister.

“Your favourable response will not only win you millions of hearts, but it will also help ease tensions in the region by improving people-to-people contact. The failure to do so, on the other hand, would justifiably reinforce rumours and speculations about the real intentions behind the opening of Kartarpur crossing,” Nusrat said.

He said millions of Muslims and Hindus living in Pakistan and India have been facing difficulties in visiting the two places of worship since 1947. Fortunately, both issues could quickly be resolved with the same level of kindness you have demonstrated in the Kartarpur crossing issue.”

Millions of Muslims from India who had settled in urban areas of Sindh Province of Pakistan, still deeply revere Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti, and want to visit his shrine in India, Nusrat said.

This should not be an issue because Pakistan’s Sindh Province shares its border with India’s Rajasthan state, and the journey from Sindh’s Khokhrapar border crossing to Ajmer Shrine is just a few hours long.

“However, this border crossing is closed for years, which forces the visitors to undertake an almost four-time longer journey to Ajmer Shrine via Punjab and Delhi. This unnecessary longer journey also places a substantial financial burden on visitors whose overwhelming majority comes poor and middle-class people,” the group said in the letter.

“If you look at it from a human perspective, it is a blatant case of the violation of millions of peoples’ fundamental religious rights,” he said.

“Hinglaj Mandir is a sacred Hindu temple on the Makran coast in Balochistan province. A large number of Hindu worshippers every year undertake a four-day pilgrimage to the Hinglaj Mandir. The deity is also worshipped and visited by many Hindus in India who want to visit this temple but face the same challenges as do the followers of Saint Moinuddin Chishti,” Nusrat said.

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