UNITED NATIONS              -           The UN General Assembly on Thursday welcomed the inauguration of “landmark’ Kartarpur corridor between Pakistan and India, as the 193-member body adopted a resolution, sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines, on promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace.

Adopted by consensus, the resolution said that the opening of the peace corridor to one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines, was “in the spirit of interfaith harmony and peaceful neighbourhood.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the opening ceremony of the corridor on November 9 before a huge gathering of pilgrims from across the world, marking the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

Under the resolution, the Assembly appreciates the agreement between the Governments of India and Pakistan to allow visa-free access to pilgrims of all faiths, especially Nanak Naam Levas and the Sikh community from across the world, as a landmark initiative for interreligious and intercultural cooperation for peace.

Speaking to APP afterwards, Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram said that “The landmark initiative of our Prime Minister to open the Kartarpur corridor rightfully belonged in the General Assembly resolution that talks about interreligious and intercultural cooperation.

“Welcoming of this initiative by consensus in the General Assembly reflects the level of international appreciation for this decision by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.

“The message has gone loud and clear that who is working for peace in our region and whose actions pose greatest threat to it,” the Pakistani envoy added, in a obvious reference to India’s illegal and provocative actions in Occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan and the Philippines have over the years been tabling the resolution calling for interreligious and intercultural cooperation, but this year they amended to the text to include a reference to the opening of Kartarpur corridor.

Under other terms of the resolution, the Assembly reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all States to fulfill their obligations to promote universal respect for and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The resolution condemned any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to violence or discrimination ; and underlines the importance of interrelgious and intercultural dialogue as a valuable tool for promoting social cohesion and peace and development in the world.

The Assembly encouraged member States to consider, as and where appropriate, initiatives that identify areas for practical action in all sectors and levels of society for the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, tolerance, understanding and cooperation.

States were invited to promote reconciliation to help ensure durable peace and sustained development, including through reconciliatory measures and acts of service.

Also, under the text, the Assembly stresses the important role of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the invaluable contributions of the United National Alliance of Civilisations in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue at all levels.