Will Pulwama terror attack cast a shadow on Kartarpur corridor?
The terror attack in Pulwama has raised doubts over its impact on the meeting between officials of India and Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor project.
The two sides are scheduled to meet on March 14 to finalise the modalities of the much-awaited corridor, particularly its coordinates. Though India withdrew the “most favoured nation” status accorded to Pakistan and warned it of a “strong response”, political leaders are hoping that tension stoked by the car bombing incident does not cast a shadow on the meeting.
Union minister of state with independent charge of housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, who was in Amritsar for a party event, told reporters that in his view, it cannot be business as usual after the attack. The minister said it was the prerogative of the government to take measures and he has no doubt about its determination to take appropriate steps.
Responding to queries on the terror attack’s impact on Kartarpur corridor project and Indo-Pak trade, he said there was no change in the deep state of Pakistan, which was conspiring terror activities in India. “On the one hand, Pakistan responded to (setting up) the corridor but on the other hand, it is supporting terror groups from its soil against India. How long will this go (on)?” he asked, reiterating his government’s commitment to the project.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who urged the Centre to “teach Pakistan a lesson”, hoped the suicide attack will not impact the Kartarpur corridor project. He said he was confident the corridor would be well protected, but there was a need for a change in attitude on the part of Pakistan if peace between the two counties was to be promoted.
However, his cooperation minister Sukjinder Singh Randhawa, who is MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, the crossing point of the proposed corridor, blamed intelligence failure for the incident. “It is the responsibility of the central government to end terrorism, but it has not done its duty,” he said, ruling any fallout of the attack on the corridor. “The corridor project is entirely a different issue,” he added. The proposed corridor will provide easy access to Sikh pilgrims to Guru Nanak’s final resting place Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.