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Talks on Kartarpur Corridor deferred

Top Story

April 3, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The crucial and substantial talks between Pakistan and India on the Kartarpur Corridor have been deferred till the formation of new government in India since the incumbent Modi administration in New Delhi has clearly hinted at not resuming tangible negotiations on the subject soon.

If the talks are postponed further, it would become difficult to construct the corridor for the Indian Sikhs to have “Darshan” of Kartarpur Sahib Dera, one of their holiest places, in bordering area of Punjab of Pakistan on the 550th death anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Sahib falling in November this year.

Pakistan is keen to build it before stipulated time of September-October this year. A technical meeting has been agreed by India in the second week of this month on zero line between the international borders in Lahore but of no consequence. Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News here that the Modi government was not serious from the day one about the establishment of the corridor later this year. It was engaged in cosmetic activities and the first meeting of the officials which was initially agreed by India to hold it in New Delhi was shifted from the Indian capital at the eleventh hour, it was moved to Attari across the international border in an unceremonious manner.

Pakistan wholeheartedly took part in the meeting despite the Indian summersault. Incidentally, they didn’t come in the meeting with full preparation. The sources pointed out that since then India has unilaterally called off two meetings on Kartarpur Corridor. The next meeting has been termed as technical one and it has been slated for the second week of this month. The signals being received from New Delhi indicate that India would like to subvert the technical meeting as well. The technical meeting will not have any impact on the whole work in the absence of major and political decisions about the facility on the corridor.

The decisions have yet to come about, the sources pointed out. Dr Muhammad Faisal Chaudhary, who is Director General of South Asia Division in the Foreign Office and spokesperson of the ministry, is disappointed with the progress about the work and planning on the corridor. He is also the focal person for the corridor project on behalf of Pakistan.

The sources said that the Modi government is under the fear that once the corridor is opened, the whole credit for it will be claimed by its opposition party Indian Congress as the initial proposal had come for Navujat Singh Siddhu, MP, of Indian Congress and that was accepted by Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa forthwith. The Sikhs across the world believe that it is Navujat Singh Siddhu who should be given credit for the corridor. The impression isn’t acceptable to Modi’s BJP’s government. The sources hinted that the Kartarpur talks could resume in early June. Pakistan has completed the homework for talks and it is prepared for negotiations if held even tomorrow, the sources added.

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