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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

‘Kartarpur can change face of South Asia, like the fall of Berlin Wall’: Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Calling Kartarpur Corridor ‘a goodwill gesture’, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi , howerver, told BBC that improvement in relations with India depended on “New Delhi changing its policy on Kashmir”.

world Updated: Nov 09, 2019 15:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (REUTERS)
         

The Kartarpur Corridor is a “goodwill gesture” and relations between India and Pakistan can improve only if New Delhi changes its policy on Kashmir, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said.

Speaking hours ahead of the opening of the corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur to Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, Qureshi told BBC that India had not responded to peace overtures from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said the objective behind the corridor was a “goodwill gesture” and Khan had always said that for every step taken by India towards peace, Pakistan would take two steps.

“Unfortunately, we did not get the same response. Despite that, we decided to continue with the Kartarpur Corridor and the Kartarpur Spirit,” he said.

“It’s not just the corridor, it’s the spirit behind the corridor that needs to be understood. And it has given us a lot of goodwill in the Sikh community.”

Watch| Kartarpur corridor opening: PM Modi flags off first batch of pilgrims

 

However, Qureshi said any improvement in bilateral relations will depend on India changing its policy on the Kashmir issue.

“Improvement of relations will depend upon their treatment and attitude in (Jammu and) Kashmir. The way they are going about maltreating people and abusing human rights…,” he said.

“If they continue to do what they are doing in Kashmir, I see no respite,” he added.

The Kartarpur Corridor marks a rare instance of cooperation between the two countries against the backdrop of heightened tensions over New Delhi’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two union territories.

Qureshi even compared the opening of the corridor to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the reunification of East and West Germany and coincided with the collapse of Soviet Union.

“You saw the Berlin Wall go down…It changed the face of Europe. Kartarpur can change the face of South Asia,” he said.