Kartarpur corridor will be inaugurated in November as planned despite tensions over Kashmir, says Pakistan

Asian News International

Islamabad: The opening of Kartarpur corridor will remain on track irrespective of Pakistan's ties with India over the Kashmir crisis, Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, has said.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Saturday, Awan rejected rumours that Pakistan had stalled the work on Kartarpur corridor after the country's relations with its neighbour strained in the aftermath of India's decision to change the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir, Geo News reported.

Awan further assured that doors will remain open to Sikh pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan in connection with the upcoming 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

The historic corridor will be inaugurated in November this year, she was quoted as saying.

On Thursday, Pakistan's Foreign Office (PFO) had stated that it remains committed to opening the Kartarpur corridor in November on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

"Pakistan is sticking with its plan to open the first visa-free border crossing with India to facilitate Sikh pilgrims despite brewing tensions between the two neighbours over the long-standing Kashmir issue," the office stated.

However, India is yet to receive a response from Pakistan over its proposal to hold technical level meetings to finalise the alignment of the interim approach path for the Kartarpur Corridor, sources had said on 10 August.

They said India had proposed to Pakistan to hold technical level meetings in the first week of August to work out arrangements and finalise the alignment of the interim approach path for the Kartarpur corridor, develop mechanism to share information about pilgrims between nodal points, develop mechanism to deal with exigencies that may arise in the use of the corridor.

Sources said Pakistan is yet to respond and a reminder has also been issued to them. India had also shared proposals for finalising the agreement on the modalities to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor.

Previously, India and Pakistan had held the second round of bilateral talks on 14 July to narrow down their differences on the corridor for travel of Sikh pilgrims from Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Punjab to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan. Both sides said that they had agreed to a majority of modalities for the smooth passage of the pilgrims.

Pakistan, which had made a unilateral decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with India in the wake of Narendra Modi government abrogating Article 370, had said that the work on the Kartarpur corridor would continue as planned.

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