LAHORE: Punjab Governor Mohammad Sarwar said that respect for religious sentiments was at the heart of erecting Kartarpur corridor by the Pakistan government and it would lay the foundation of religious tourism in the country.
In a meeting with journalists here, he said Pakistani soil was rich in religious tourism as it was home to the rich Muslim, Sikh, Bhuddist and the Hindu heritage, adding that Punjab was custodian of ancient heritage and could attract immense tourists from abroad.
To a question, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan saw the historic opportunity to promote religious tourism in the country, adding that he had been appointed Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee with six members including Federal Ministers Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Shafqat Mehmood, Noorul Haq Qadri, Provincial Ministers Hashim Jawan Bakht, Raja Humayun Yasirand Saeed ul Hassan.
Responding to a question, Ch Sarwar said Pakistan had built the corridor as a good-will gesture and did not have any political motives behind the move. To a question, he said that Indian government was reluctant to build Kartarpur corridor but it had to bow down before the religious sentiments of the 140 million Sikhs across the globe, adding that the construction of Kartarpur Corridor had started in India today.
He said the Indian Foreign Office (IFO) officials would hold talks on the Kartarpur corridor at Wagha border tomorrow (Thursday).
About the government’s initiatives, he said establishment of Baba Guru Nanank University was on the card to promote Punjabi culture while a dedicated 672 feet long tunnel was being built to provide safe, hassle-free entry to the Gurduwara to the yatrees from a specially built platform along the railway track in Nankana Sahib. He said the tunnel would be constructed from donations to fast track the construction.
About the economy, he said the government had cut down the budget from Rs 635 billion to Rs 238 billion in order to cut our coat according to our cloth, adding that the lack of development budget may slow down the economy for a certain period of time.
He said the situation was not favourable for investment in the country as the clouds of war hover around the region, adding that country’s economy was sure to improve gradually as investments were pouring in from countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and others.
About the stand off with India, Ch Sarwar said Pakistan had brow beaten India on the diplomatic, political and military front during the recent while the world-powers did not pay heed to Indian mantra and accepted Pakistan’s stance.
“Gone were the days when India gained diplomatic ascendancy on the international front but we have defeated India in the recent standoff under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.”
The PTI government has highlighted the plight of the Kashmiris before the international community with great success,” he responded, adding that the government had told the world that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s war hysteria was caused by the desire to win April-May 2019 general elections in India.
Vis-a-vis his relations with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Punjab Govenror Sarwar said there were no differences between the two offices, adding that they were on the same page on all matters.
About the role of universities, he said the centers of higher education must dedicated to research so that the GDP of the country could be increased through research in agriculture.
He further said zero political influence would be ensured in the appointment of vice-chancellors (VCs) in Punjab while all appointments of VCs would be finalized by next two months.