File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )
Captain Amarinder Singh told Khan that he had seen him play during his cricketing days
No doubt Kartarpur corridor was the focal point of the connect between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh when they met on Saturday, but there was another, equally interesting subject of common interest they discovered and talked about during the short bus ride from the Pak side of the zero line to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.
"Cricket, of course, is always a common thread between every Indian and Pakistani. It bonds as well as it fires passions between the two sides. But this bus ride was one of bonding, with Captain Amarinder Singh helping Imran discover a special connection between their families, even though the two had not met before and did not know each other personally," a statement from office Chief Minister Singh read.
During the short journey, Captain Amarinder Singh told Khan that he had seen him play during his cricketing days.
During his conversation with Khan, Singh told the Pak premier that his uncle, Jahangir Khan (who was married to Imran Khan's maternal aunt, Mubarak, and was a cricketer during the British Raj era) had played for Patiala, along with Mohd Nisar, Lala Amarnath, fast bowler Amar Singh and the two Ali batsmen (Wazir Ali and Amir Ali), the statement read.
These seven players were part of the team captained by Amarinder Singh's father, Maharaja Yadvinder Singh, in 1934-35, for India and for Patiala, a fascinating bit of information that Imran enjoyed hearing from the Chief Minister, the statement added.
The bus ride lasted for less than five minutes, but, "thanks to cricket, it was enough to break the ice between Imran Khan and Captain Amarinder."
Prime Minister Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had received the Chief Minister and the Indian delegation at the Zero Point. Captain Amarinder Singh hoped the journey through Kartarpur corridor would continue in the future to build a stronger connection between the two countries, one that is as powerful as cricket, which he hoped the two sides will try to play in the true spirit of the sport in future, the statement read.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Imran Khan had on Saturday inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor at Gurdaspur and Kartarpur respectively, facilitating the visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib.
The corridor, which connects Dera Baba Nanak in India's Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province, was formally opened to pilgrims on Saturday, three days before the 550th anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, on November 12. India and Pakistan had on October 24 signed an agreement on the modalities for operationalising the corridor.