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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Committed to opening Kartarpur corridor: Pakistan

At a weekly news briefing, Pakistani foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that a meeting in this regard will take place soon ahead of the opening of the Kartarpur corridor in November for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth celebrations.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2019 01:43 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
The corridor will link Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur.
The corridor will link Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur.(Photo: AFP)
         

Pakistan on Thursday said it is committed to opening the Kartarpur corridor for visa-free border crossing for Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which is the final resting place of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

At a weekly news briefing, Pakistani foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that a meeting in this regard will take place soon ahead of the opening of the corridor in November for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth celebrations.

Faisal’s comments came amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following the abrogation of Constitution’s Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status.

“Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India but we will go ahead with the Kartarpur plan,” said Faisal. “Our effort and desire are that Kartarpur opens on time,” he said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the work on the corridor from the Pakistan side last year.

The corridor will link Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur.

Indian and Pakistani officials held a meeting to discuss the modalities for a corridor in May. Technical experts and foreign office officials from the two sides held talks over the corridor a month earlier.

Faisal said he has no knowledge of any Indian citizens stranded in Pakistan after Islamabad severed rail and bus links with India. “If there [are Indians stranded in Pakistan], we are ready to facilitate them. They can go back on foot through Wagha border [in Punjab] because the border crossing is open,” he said when asked about reports of stranded Indians in Pakistan.

Faisal said there were many offers for mediation on Kashmir, but any progress will be possible only if India accepted them.

India has maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and there was no role for a third party.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 00:26 IST