Thursday September 21, 2023

Kartarpur corridor: Pakistan invites India to finalise accord

January 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Despite an all-time low in bilateral relations with no chance of any breakthrough in near future, at least the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor in November this year is keeping Pakistan and India in touch on the diplomatic front, with Pakistan insisting that it would continue with its efforts to bring peace and stability to the region.

After Pakistan first raised the issue of Kartarpur Corridor, the move was welcomed by the Sikh community not only in India but in other parts of the world, making it impossible for Delhi to back down.

The Foreign Office Monday informed the Indian High Commission to urgently send a delegation to Islamabad to negotiate and finalise a draft agreement between the two sides for facilitating of Indian Sikh Yatrees to visit the Gurudwara, Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Pakistan also shared a copy of the draft agreement between the two countries with the Indian diplomats, related to facilitation of (Indian) Sikh Yatrees to visit the Gurudwara, Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Narowal.

“The Government of Pakistan has appointed Director General (South Asia and Saarc) as the focal person on Pakistan’s side and requested that the Government of India designate a focal person at its end. The Government of Pakistan also invited Government of India to urgently send a delegation to Islamabad to negotiate and finalise the agreement,” the Foreign Office commented.

Sources in New Delhi indicate that India is in the process of finalising a date for the Islamabad visit and will share it with Pakistan’s High Commission in Delhi.

Recently, Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria participated in a meeting in India which was also attended by India’s home secretary, DG Punjab, DG Intelligence, BSF and NHAI officials. Issues related to land acquisition on its side, biometrics and online registration process were discussed.

In the background is a commitment by Prime Minister Imran Khan to open Kartarpur corridor on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November, 2019.

He had inaugurated the ground breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor on November 28 with great fanfare.

“Pakistan took this step to accommodate the longstanding request of the Sikh community, especially from India, particularly in view of 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak,” says the Foreign Office. Pakistan says that this was in line with Islamic principles that advocate respect for all religions and Pakistan’s policy of promoting inter-faith harmony and religious tolerance and also in line with the Quaid’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.