Bathinda Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal crossed the border here on Thursday to join her husband and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in Lahore for bringing the people of the two Punjabs closer.
"I will pay obeisance at Nankana Sahib and pray for lasting peace between India and Pakistan. We have so much in common -- culture, language and the soil," she said while talking to reporters before crossing over along with party colleague and singer Hansraj Hans.
She hailed Badal's initiative of leading a delegation to Pakistan for furthering the case of the country in general and of Punjab in particular. Badal led a 41-member delegation, comprising five cabinet ministers of the state and prominent industrialists and traders, to Pakistan on November 5.
She felt that the time had come for the two neighbours to forget the past and move on together on the road to peace and progress. She said there was a lot of scope for enhancing trade between the two countries through the Wagah border and this would benefit the people of the two Punjabs.
"We have to have a liberal visa policy so that the citizens of the two nations can visit each other frequently. This will go a long way in enhancing people-to-people contact and further the cause of peace," she added.
She regretted that despite the minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur being from Punjab, no step had been taken for opening a visa centre at Amritsar. A visa centre in the holy city was a must so that Punjabis and even others desirous of visiting Pakistan did not have to go all the way to Delhi, she said, adding that she would take up the issue with the Pakistani authorities and request them to open the visa centre at Amritsar.
Another point which she would focus on would be providing a 'free corridor' for devotees from India to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak breathed his last. The gurdwara lying across the Ravi is visible from Dera Baba Nanak town of Gurdaspur district. The issue to enable devotees to visit the gurdwara without a visa and return the same day is under the consideration of both the governments.
Hans, on his part, felt that there should be more frequent exchange of cultural troupes and artistes between the two countries. This could be possible if visa rules were relaxed, he said.
Badal and Hans were received on the other side of the border by officials of Pakistani Punjab.