–Guterres draws attention to increasing threat of climate change, importance of controlling population growth
KARTARPUR: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said that the opening of the Kartarpur corridor was “a practical proof” of Pakistan’s desire for peace and interfaith harmony while his visit to the sacred site of Sikhism in Narowal.
Upon his arrival, Guterres was welcomed by a delegation led by Minister of Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and briefed on the steps taken by the government to facilitate the Sikh community. Terming the opening of the corridor a “good step”, the UN chief said that it would promote interfaith harmony.
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During his visit, the UN chief was given a special briefing on the development of the Kartarpur corridor and a guided tour of the gurdwara. Inside the temple, Guterres met various Sikh religious leaders and was presented with mementos to commemorate his visit.
Guterres also visited the on-site soup kitchen at the gurdwara, where he was served a traditional meal of rice and lentils. The kitchen caters to all Sikh pilgrims visiting the gurdwara, providing them free meals as is traditional at all Sikh temples.
The four-kilometre-long corridor, which was inaugurated on November 9, provides pilgrims a visa-free link between Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Indian Punjab. Up to 5,000 Indian Sikhs have been allowed access daily, with plans to eventually double the capacity.
Earlier in the day, the UN chief spoke at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), where he stressed the importance of using modern technology and updating the curriculum. He also spoke about the increasing threat of climate change and the importance of taking measures to control population growth.
“We still live in a male-dominated world with male-dominated culture and we still have enormous difficulties with women to be able to play the role that they must play for our world to be fairer and more compassionate and more able to avoid permanent cycles of conflict we live,” UNSG said.
He underscored that conflict arises mostly because of the aggressiveness of the male-dominated societies but we must strive for the world where there is gender parity. The UNSG further said that we have to make sure that we have the full use of the enormous potential that various technologies have to offer.
“Digital economy, digital society, artificial intelligence (AI), genetic engineering all have enormous potential,” he said also warning that if not used wisely technologies can become a nightmare. Guterres stressed that technology will be a massive creator for jobs and will simultaneously be the reason for unemployment.
“However, it will not be the same as they [companies] would need different capacity and different skills. For which education must be an absolute priority,” he said stressing upon the need for education.
Guterres had also visited a school in Lahore where he administered polio drops to children. He admired the efforts being made by the state to eradicate the crippling disease from the country.